Pure Evil 5, Braves 4

For those who desire a summary of the game before my idiosyncratic ramblings about matters related and unrelated:

Top first, Max Varsity Fried Pie (I prefer the peach, but my wife insists on the apple)—retires the Fish without any damage.  First pitch bottom of first–RAJ bomb.  Immediately thereafter, Ozzie triple (don’t pay attention to the official scorer on this one)—score on FF groundout. 2-0 Braves.

Top Second—Harold Ramirez solo homer; bottom second—Austin City Limits solo homer. 3-1 Braves. Looking good.

Top Third—Starling Castro solo shot; bottom third—Ozzie double, JD BB, Nick double, scoring Ozzie, JD out at plate.  Despite the failure to plate the fifth run, things are looking even better.  Marlins hurler Caleb Smith isn’t fooling anyone—this could be a rout.

Then—hibernation mode.  Smith retires the next 9 Braves, and the Fish pen also shuts out our side.

Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that Max was very hittable today.  In the fateful fifth, he gave up 3 runs on single, single, double, single.  Fried hung a breaking ball to Alfaro to plate the third run. And then he allowed the go ahead runs on another breaking ball delivered to one Yadiel Rivera (who was hitting .150 on the season).  Max’s fastball was in the mid to upper 90’s—maybe he should use it more.

After the fifth, the Braves relievers did their now typical stellar job: four scoreless innings, with two by Tomlin, and one each from Webb and Sobotka.

But as noted, the Braves impersonated bears in winter the rest of the way.  Final score 5-4.

Even so, the Braves’ ability to score runs in the seventh or later has come to seem inevitable, so I (and you too, I bet) were convinced the Braves would score the go ahead runs late and claim victory.  Just goes to show nothing is inevitable.

*   *   *

Well, some things are inevitable.  In the bottom of the 8th, with the Braves trailing by one, and the top of the order up, there was zero chance that Chip would not say “The right guys are up at the right time!”  And in the top of the 5th, with the Braves clinging to a one run lead, Fried struggling, and the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, there was never any doubt that Chip would remind us that a starting pitcher must go 5 to earn a win. It’s not so much that wins are an overrated stat.  The problem is that Chip emphasizes this when the outcome of the game is very much in doubt with four innings left to play. And of course Fried promptly gave up the lead, making the whole subject moot.  I don’t know why this bugs me so much.  It’s not a big deal—it’s really more my problem than Chip’s. 

(On the subject of announcers, I was in the car so I listened to the first three innings on the radio.  I find Ben and Joe to be much less interesting than Jim and Don.  I understand about Sutton’s health issues, but why is Powell not on the radio more?)

*    *    *

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snTaSJk0n_Y

Except that I haven’t, really.  I’m with Seat Painter (see yesterday’s recap)—I’ve always preferred a good pitchers’ duel to a slugfest.  All these homers and runs scored are a little unsettling to me.  I came of age in the 1960’s when 1-0 and 2-1 games were the norm.  As a Braves fan in the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, I saw a lot of Braves teams that led the league in runs scored and still finished below .500.  It was only after the Braves developed all the great starters of the 1990’s that they became consistent winners.

And yet, the power display by this year’s team is pretty thrilling.  The two bombs today insured that this team set the Atlanta record for homers before the all star break.  The fact that the two guys who did it today were born in 1997 makes it all the more exciting—and their 1997 comrade Ozzie ripped three doubles.  This team is the most fun of any I remember—and the bombs are a big part of it.

 *    *    *

In a pinch:

Fried pinch hit for himself in the bottom of the 5th.   Really.  He’d thrown right at 100 pitches and given up 11 hits and 5 runs through 5.  There was no way he was going back out in the 6th.  So, a pinch hitter was called for.  Snit looked at his bench.  With Dansby resting his sore quad, the only two noncatchers were Joyce and Charlie Clutch.  It was an entirely reasonable decision to save them for higher leverage situations later.  The hell of it was, Fried drove it to deep center and only an excellent catch kept it from being extra bases.

What I don’t understand is the failure to pinch hit BMac for Flowers with one on and two out in the ninth.  McCann was on deck, but unless Tyler reached he could not hit.  What were the odds that Flowers was going to hit a Romo slider in that situation? Nothing is inevitable, but his whiff on an outside slider was pretty close to it.

Tomorrow, last game before the break, Keuchel vs. Richards.  If the Braves win, they will go 15-2-2 in series since the trip to LA in early May.

29 thoughts on “Pure Evil 5, Braves 4”

  1. I’m a pitcher’s duel guy as well… I’ve written before about the Koufax-Lemaster duel in 1966. One thing that undercuts the pitcher’s duel today is that pitcher’s duels today usually feature multiple pitchers — that undercuts some of the drama when some guy you haven’t seen all day doesn’t have it and gives up some runs in the 8th or 9th. And when, like today, three or four different pitchers each take an inning and beat you, you start to think it’s you and not the pitchers.

    BTW, Friday night’s game was the 5th in Braves history in which the Braves scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the 9th. The others were in 1971, 1976, 1995 and 2016.

  2. I don’t think the Fried question is that big a deal. You’re right that it was an OK decision to let Fried hit especially with 0 outs and no one on. Fried is our best hitting pitcher now. Anyone notice that Fried has 0.2 WAR (FG) as a hitter/defender. Markakis also has 0.2 WAR (FG).

    The other questionable call, i.e. sending Donaldson on Markakis’ double, seemed a reasonable risk to me at the time. And it was pretty close. But Donaldson is no speedster.

    I thought I had a decent excuse not to use BMac but there is none….. Only thing I can think of is it would be disrespecting TFlow and Snit is not willing to do that to a veteran. On the other hand, it would have been nice if either Riley or Camargo could get Nick to 2nd. Both of them had full counts; wish one could have walked. If Nick had been on 2nd, I would have liked to see either BMac or Culby – BMac being the lefty.

    And there was no good reason for the run not to score in the 8th. That’s on JD.

  3. Jonathan the Koufax – Lemaster duel was one o the best I have ever seen. I am not sure what would rank at that level but that game was one of the best I have attended.

  4. Tough game for Max. Plenty of velocity. Plenty of location problems.

    With that being the root cause – – let’s look at the 8th: Ozzie stood and admired his long shot to CF. Would’ve been a no-doubt triple had he run out of the gate.

    And then, at least I believe, he ignored Wash’s sign to run on Freddie’s 8th inning single. Setting up the Donaldson DP & 5-4 outcome.

    One last thought: not sure of his clubhouse impact, but Flowers is killing me.

  5. Another tiny thing that cost us was the failure of Ozzie/Austin to give direction to Donaldson as he approached home. I think he would have run in harder and slide to the outside if he had been given any direction, and that cost us an out and a run.

  6. Meanwhile in New York…

  7. Fried is a complex character. He also might just be the best athlete on the team and one of the most pugnacious. That deep drive to CF tfloyd picks out – thanks for a great write up – is intriguing. His base running instincts are primal, a healthy sign. He is a slip of a thing but infinitely rewarding of study.

    So. He must now get back to basics, re-love his fastball and get some rest. Just remember how his season started. He’s not going anywhere but here and that suits us just fine.

  8. As to Donaldson’s out at the plate, I’m sure Ozzie and/or Riley were supposed to give him some guidance, but shouldn’t he be running as hard as he can coming home from third unless he is certain it’s not necessary?

  9. Maximilian Fried
    a time we thought he had more than we need
    could have been a star or two in our eyes
    he was hiding some doubts, ditch the disguise.

    FASTBALL

    The early monks, pioneers of the written word on their papyral parchments, often finished with a flourish, all caps, to drive their message home.

  10. @10

    of course he should…and that line drive, some air please…think…. $23M should include think.

  11. I mean, sure, but the players will obviously not run 100% every play, and they expect other players to help them make sure it doesn’t cost them.

  12. The Marlins broadcasters showed a heat map of Fried’s pitches, most of which were in the middle of the plate. Sure, he throws a lot of breaking balls, which gives him some leeway, but he has to work the corners more.

  13. @ 13

    Ozzie does, Rob. Except last night he didn’t on that long drive to the RCF wall. Something in the air perhaps.

  14. When you’re on a 1-year deal and have a history of debilitating calf problems, you do not run 100% all the time, as it’s not smart for you or your team for you to do so unless necessary. Harping on his contract price doesn’t change that reality.

  15. The USA/Netherlands World Cup Final is on now, live, Big Fox. It will be reshown after our game at 4.30 on FS1.

    @17 Yes, harping indeed.

  16. Once again, accusing a player of apathy because he does not meet your standard of passion, intensity, or enthusiasm is often times the incorrect answer.

  17. @17 +1

    I don’t want to see JD sprinting down the 3B line to score when he doesn’t need to be. It’s pointless, and an injury risk. If you can jog home, do it. The money a guy makes shouldn’t even factor into that equation.

  18. Sometimes we just lose. Many factors contributed, some of which Snit can control and sometimes the ball just bounces the wrong way. I thought he should have bunted on Friday (which he later admitted) and he should have hit Mac for Flowers. We all love Snits loyalty except when it gets in the way of a win. Flowers is giving the team absolutely nothing right now offensively or defensively. He has produced in the past, but he isn’t right now.

  19. @12 So had it been Camargo in the exact same situation, making the exact same play, would you have been more bothered by Albies/Riley not giving direction because Camargo makes less, and therefore shouldn’t have to “think”?

    I don’t understand why Donaldson gets jabbed because of his contract when he’s earning the money.

  20. As for the pitcher’s duel versus slugfest debate, I’ll take the slugfest every time. That’s why this year’s team is so fun to me.

  21. Christian Pache is leading off and Ian Anderson is the starting pitcher in the Futures game.

  22. I guess it’s faux pas to fill the Futures lineups with Braves outfielders, but Drew Waters absolutely belongs.

  23. @26 – You’re right. It’s too bad that organizations can’t send more than two players.

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