Our Braves are DOOMED. Clearly the new guy Keuchel sucks. He might have been good in Houston, but he can’t get hitters out any more. His fastball sits in the high 80’s and he doesn’t miss many bats.
And the Braves have lost their offensive momentum. They’ve forgotten how to hit; they were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Even worse, the Braves can’t beat the Nationals. They’ve now played three times—and the Nats have won all three! The Nats cut the Braves lead over them to just 6 and a half games!
Just kidding. It’s only one game.
I was fairly impressed with Keuchel, considering he hasn’t faced any big league hitters in nine months. He knows what he’s doing on the mound, changing speeds, moving the ball in and out, keeping it down in the zone. Several of the Nationals’ hits weren’t hit hard. But he has little margin for error. I suspect it will take a few more starts for him to build up stamina and get sharp. He was a very good pickup for the Braves.
After Keuchel went five, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits, the league’s best bullpen (since May 15—you can look it up) shut them out for three. Touki was a little shaky, but got out of trouble. Webb was outstanding—six up, six down.
And yeah, the offense came up short, but Donaldson had two more hits, including a double to left that was about 200 mph. Austin THCC Riley turned on a Strasburg heater and hit it out to left to give the Braves an early 2 run lead. Freddie had an RBI double, his ninth straight game with an RBI. And although they were in hibernation mode for the middle innings, they made a run at them in the ninth. But for a terrific sliding catch by Robles, the game would have been at least tied.
One piece of good news tonight: The Phillies lost to the Marlins, so the Braves division lead is still 4 and a half games. As many of you have noted, the Natspos are looking like the much bigger threat to the Braves as the season goes on.
Today is June 21, the summer solstice, the day with the most sunshine of the year. Despite this loss, there is plenty of light for this team. Perhaps the most important was that Bobby Cox is recovering. He gave his first television interview since his stroke. It was great to see him. He’s struggling with speech and his right arm isn’t working, but there was a twinkle in his eye and he smiled as he said that he’s watched every Braves game. His goal is to go to spring training next year.
We all know that Bobby isn’t a Hall of Fame manager because of his in game tactics. But over the course of a season, no one was better at keeping a team on an even keel and playing hard every day. What would Bobby say about today? The goal isn’t to win every game, but you need to give yourself a chance to win each series. The Braves can still do that in DC this weekend.
Speaking of the summer solstice, not only does the sun set later today than the rest of the year, but twilight lasts for over an hour afterwards. But as you get into August and September, the sun sets sooner, and twilight doesn’t last as long.
Yogi Berra was one of the two or three greatest catchers in the history of the game, but he also occasionally played left field, especially later in his career. He said that he didn’t mind the outfield, except for one thing: During August and September, as the shadows across the outfield progressively lengthened, it got increasingly difficult for him to see a baseball hit in his direction. Yogi summed it up as only he could: “It gets late early out there.”
Tomorrow Folty faces our old friend Anibal Sanchez.