Ho Hum, Another Routine Victory: Braves 7, Padres 5

In a tight, tense, thrilling game Saturday night, the Braves beat the Padres 7-5 in 10 innings.  Props to San Diego for starting at 5:40 Pacific time, rather than a couple of hours later as the night before.  Otherwise I would have gone to bed and missed one of the most exciting games of the year.

The game started a lot like Friday’s game.  Donaldson hit another bomb to right center after a Swanson walk, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.  In the bottom of the first, Julio hung a slider to Machado, who hit a no doubter line drive to left.  But he struck out Tatis and Reyes on sliders that didn’t hang, so it was 2-1 after one.

After the first, Tony Lucchesi settled down and held the Braves in check though 5.  At the same time, Teheran was doing his thing.  I know Julio has been a whipping boy around here, but he’s been a valuable pitcher for the Braves this year.  You’ve got to enjoy watching him pitch, if you are one of those folks who enjoyed watching the Great Wallenda walk across Tallulah Gorge.  Seriously, I do admire Julio.  He doesn’t have the stuff he had 5 years ago, but he knows how to get major league hitters out: he changes speeds, moves it around, and mostly avoids the middle of the plate.  But he has a small margin for error, and when he misses it’s ugly (see, e.g.,  the cement mixer he threw to Machado in the first).  Still, through the fourth, he surrendered only 2 hits, with 5 K’s and no walks.

Then Mejia led off the 5th with a long bomb to right to tie it 2-2. It was not a terrible pitch—a breaking ball down and in that he got the barrel on. The bigger problem came whn he walked the next batter, Manuel Margot.  Sure, Julio should not have walked the guy, but his defense let him down at that point. TFlow made a double error on one pitch (passed ball and throwing error) putting the go ahead run on third with no outs. Then a fly ball was hit to medium left—almost exactly where that fly ball was hit to Culberson last Sunday.  Truth is, I don’t know if a perfect throw would have gotten him, and in any event we can’t expect throws like Charlie’s more than once every couple of years. Suffice it to say, Riley’s throw was not exactly the Culberson throw.  In fact, it looked more like one of Nuke Laloosh’s heaves into the on deck circle. Julio did manage to get out of the inning without further damage.

Julio held them scoreless in the 6th, which meant that he qualified for a Quality Start.  I used to scoff at that “stat” but in this day of starters going 5 innings and the juiced ball, finishing 6 innings and surrendering only 3 runs is mighty fine (and Julio actually gave up only two earned runs).

Trailing 3-2 going to the 7th, you knew the Braves were in good shape.  And sure enough, in the 7th, RAJ hit a laser shot into the left field stands to tie it up.  

In the bottom of the 7th, A.J. Minter came on and gave up a leadoff walk to Mr. Margot.  The guy has an OBP of under .300—don’t put him on!  Sure enough, it came back to haunt them.  The runner was sacrificed to second, and then a wild pitch got him to third with one out.  But Minter struck out Myers, and then intentionally walked Tatis to get to Hosmer.  Good decision, I thought.  At that point, however, the Padres stole a run.  Tatis appeared to be picked off, but when Freddie threw to second Margot broke for the plate and beat Dansby’s high throw home.

No problem for these Braves, though.  In the 8th, a JD leadoff walk let ultimately to the tying run on a sac fly by Austin City Limits.  General Swarzak got them in the 8th, and the Braves went quietly in the 9th.

In the bottom of the 9th, it was Newcomb’s turn to walk Margot.  That made me very nervous.  The Padres only had 3 hits at that point.  The first two runs had scored on solo homers and runs 3 and 4 were scored after bases on balls to Margot.  But this time, Newk pitched around it and sent the game to the 10th.

In the 10th, Donaldson led off with another walk.  With the runner going, Nick’s grounder advanced him to second.  Ozzie stroked a single to right to drive in the go ahead run.  Riley followed with a walk. Suspecting that one run was not sufficient Luke Leeway, Flowers (who had been struggling offensively and defensively) doubled off the right field wall to make it a 7-4 lead.

So, routine save for Jackson in the bottom of the 10th.  Well, not exactly.  First he gave up a solo shot to Machado.  Wait, it gets worse.  Kinsler hit an infield single and then Luke walked Renfroe.  So now the tying runs are on base with one out.  Mejia (who had already homered, remember) smashed one to deep right that Chip and I were certain won the game in walk off fashion for the Padres.  But Markakis made a leaping catch against the wall.  The runners tagged to second and third, but now there were two outs.  Snit then decides to walk Margo intentionally—and I start screaming at my TV.  Luke cannot be trusted with the bases loaded, and they just put the winning run on first.  Why would they do such a crazy thing?  Snit and Weis know more than I do, and they knew that the Padres were out of position players, so a pitcher would have to bat with two outs.  Whew!  Easy, right?  Of course not.  Jackson ran the count to 3-2 before finally striking out the pitcher for the victory.

I’ve enjoyed Jackson’s redemption, and I have pointed out some of the bad BABIP luck he’s suffered, but that’s it.  We’ve got to trade for a more dependable 9th inning guy.

  *    *    *

On this date in 1967, Eddie Mathews hit his 500th home run.  Exactly one year later, July 15, 1968, Henry Aaron hit his 500th.  Unfortunately, they did not hit those as teammates.  Mathews had been traded to the Astros after the 1966 season.  But they do hold the record for the most home runs by teammates.  Between 1954 and 1966, the two future hall of famers hit 863 homers as fellow Braves (Mathews 421, Aaron 442).

I used the adverb “unfortunately” above.  In truth, it was probably not a bad move for Atlanta to trade Mathews when they did.  Mathews was an all time great, but he was in the steep decline phase of his career by the time the Braves came to Atlanta. But as an 11 year old kid, I felt betrayed when I learned the Braves were parting ways with Mathews.  Mathews was my favorite player when the Braves first came to Atlanta.  The first professional game I ever saw in person was an Atlanta Crackers game in 1964 at Ponce de Leon Park with my grandfather.  The one thing I remember about that experience was my grandfather pointing the magnolia tree out beyond the center field fence.  When Mathews played for the Crackers as an 18 year old in 1950, he hit 32 home runs.  One of those went into the magnolia tree, over 460 feet from home plate.  Reputedly, the only other person to hit one into the tree was Babe Ruth.  Anyway, I was already a big fan of Eddie before we knew the Braves were coming to ATL

(The tree still stands.  For those of you familiar with Atlanta, it’s by the Beltline, behind the Home Depot that is across Ponce from the Ponce City Market.)

On the subject of Mathews and Aaron, the two were all time greats who came up within a couple of years of each other as 20 year olds.  Mathews hit 47 homers as a 21 year old and another 83 as a 22 and 23 year old.  Aaron was third in MVP balloting as a 22 year old and won it as a 23 year old.  They played as teammates for 13 years.  If the Braves of the next decade, led by Acuna and Albies, are anything like the Braves of the 50’s, led by Aaron and Mathews, we’re in for quite a ride.

   *      *      *

On Sunday, the Braves go for the sweep behind All Star Mike Soroka.  This team is worth watching whenever and whoever they play.

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93 thoughts on “Ho Hum, Another Routine Victory: Braves 7, Padres 5”

  1. tfloyd

    how you you managed to collect and arrange all those disparate events, in such a short space of time, defeats me, thank you.

    I’m still wide awake but i didn’t have to pay any heed to what i was going to write. Sweep tomorrow then?

  2. Thanks for the recap … I concur with every word, but especially your closing sentence. Like the previous poster, I can’t sleep either—this team….

  3. I can’t bear watching Luke Jackson pitch in the ninth inning. Does he ever get them 1-2-3? AA needs to find a shutdown closer.

  4. Great recap of an exciting game. Thank you, tfloyd. I got to watch the last couple of innings. Luke made it too close. Another great win against a good team.

    The Nats aren’t going anywhere either. Let’s keep winning. Go Braves!

  5. Imagine game five of the NLDS, ninth inning, heart of the Dodgers’ order coming up and Jackson pitching.

    I appreciate everything Jackson has done thus far this year, I really do. He’s surprised everyone with how well he’s pitched, and it’s not his fault Vizcaíno went down and Anthopoulos didn’t acquire a closer this past offseason, but the team needs to get a real closer and Jackson needs to be sharing eighth inning duties with Swarzak.

  6. Thanks, tfloyd. My biggest baseball regret is my failure to have attended a game at Ponce de Leon Park. When I lose a few more marbles, though, I may remember it as fondly as you do.

    I felt more betrayed when Mathews was fired as manager than when he was traded (my favorites were Aaron, Alou and Carty) but even that event is so low in my lifetime store of baseball betrayals that it barely bears mentioning. But I appreciate your pain….

  7. Thank you, tfloyd. Weak hearts may not survive this season. I am thankful for today’s early start.

    Also and for today only, go Phillies.

  8. This team appears to be pretty special. I’ve been catching highlights, and Chip just seems to be going crazy calling the games. I haven’t heard him take it up to 11 like this.

  9. Though I’m overall a Chip fan, the latest Chip over-call in question was quite egregious, I will concede.

    Timestamp not working. Go to 4:34.

  10. I may be Chip’s harshest critic, but the one thing he has is enthusiasm. If he ever lost that, there’s be no point to him at all.

  11. I would prefer to have both accuracy/insight and enthusiasm. If I can’t have both, and I’m not sure how many announcers there are out there that have both, then I’d rather have enthusiasm.

  12. To Chip’s credit, he pretty quickly acknowledged that he misinterpreted that one off the bat. I thought that Paul Byrd, who was playing the role of Frenchy last night, not so subtly indicated that it never looked like a homer to him. That is, he emphasized a couple of times that Riley cut back on his swing just to get a fly ball to score a run.

  13. Rob, have you seen Tristan Beck pitch lately? His recent start line reads well, and he was supposed to be someone to watch. Truthfully, I’d forgotten we still had him.

    I think I’d like Chip if I knew him. However, his constant blather irritates me.

  14. @12: That’s where we differ. What I would really like is for the play-by-play and color guys to be are the people I’d like to be watching the game with, acknowledging that the play-by-play guy is naturally going to be a lot more chatty than someone in my living room is going to be, since they have the obvious extra job of explaining the game to the blind and the non-baseball-junkie who slipped into my living room when I wasn’t looking. Enthusiasm is a given (at least in my living room)… and is way easier to fake. Insight and accuracy is hard… and welcome. (BTW, I do believe Chip’s enthusiasm is completely genuine…)

  15. No, coop, I’ve not, and I’m still struggling to work up the enthusiasm to get to the local Fire Frogs games. But the talent is increasing, and after this recent run, Beck would be a guy I should probably be looking to catch next time they’re in the area.

    I’m looking forward to seeing where the 2019 draftees end up. I think that’ll make A+ a better destination.

  16. In a way, it’s good that the bullpen is showing what it might actually be now, and not a month from now. Makes the need clearer.

    JC’d from the last thread:

    Also worthy of kudos is Austin. A solid hit, sac fly and a walk is a great game for a kid that’s been scuffling.

  17. I’m less bullish on Chip than most, but he did seem to be missing a lot of the details last night. Who was it that got a hit on a 2 and 2 count and Chip kept calling it 3 and 1? I know it’s a minor detail, but a batter usually protects the plate much more and swings differently on a 2 and 2 count. Little things like that can be pretty annoying. It doesn’t usually bother me, but it came close last night.

  18. Re. Chip, someone of you mentioned the “Let’s see if…” that Chip seems to say twenty times per game. Very annoying. I love me some Birdy though. He’s awesome.

  19. The trick for Birdy is to find some way to acknowledge agreement without actually starting every response with “I agree….”

    I, too, believe Chip to be sincere in his enthusiasm. A little earnest, perhaps, but that can be forgiven.

    Those two guys for the Cubs put me to sleep.

  20. @9: At last, someone agrees with me. I still count the “let’s see if”s almost every game. I stopped talking about it because I couldn’t find anyone who agreed with me. It may be the single laziest thing possible to do, since it isn’t even a prediction, or an assessment of likelihood. But until a few more chime in, I will belay the twenty minute rant I have prepared on this topic.

  21. The thing that will always give Chip a pass is that he’s both sincere in his love of baseball and he seems to also like the team that he calls games for. And as a baseball fan and Braves fan, I like that. Now, contrast that with someone who picked a really inopportune time to not have the hometown fans’ backs:

    Joe starts up at 1:40

    I’m sure some may not want to re-legislate whether the fans should have thrown anything on the field, but whatever. Not a smart move, Joe.

  22. I didn’t watch the game at all, and it sounds like I missed an All-Timer on the Tums scale. Taking a step back, to Rob on the last thread:

    In the movie Starship Troopers, Lt. Rasczak tells Johnny Rico, “You once asked for my advice. Want some now? Never pass up a good thing.”

    The Philadelphia Phillies are being buried in a pile of their own missed opportunities, mismanagement, and self-loathing. The Mets have already Metsed away their season. Enjoy every second.

  23. Haha. I just mean that it means that Washington is strengthening. But yes, I will enjoy the Phillies — the DARLINGS of the offseason — struggling to stay above .500.

    People talk about “culture” a lot more in football and basketball than baseball, it seems. But the Braves have a good culture, and the Phils’ suck. And it starts with whoever thinks Gabe Kapler should have been hired to manage a baseball team.

  24. What does it tell everyone that the Braves are having more than one good series on the West Coast? It tells me this team is already more ready to compete in the playoffs than any Braves team in the last 15 years.

    Did anyone notice how badly the Dodgers slammed Sale last night? This reinforces for me that it’s not just imperative to get a SP that is a TOR but one that can beat the Dodgers. The Dodgers may be more susceptible to lefties. I think Keuchel will be good against them. All these kids pitching in the high 90s just give good hitting teams more opportunities to blast a ball over the fence. A Keuchel (or Greinke or anyone like them) can keep them off balance without having to pitch over 90mph. They might get hits but they’re not going to barrel anything. This is where I think MadBum fits. A third lefty after Keuchel and Fried that can move the ball around and keep the barrel off the ball.

    Also, MadBum last night threw 5 inning with 0 ER (1 R total), 1 W and 6Ks. Not bad coming off an elbow contusion. And it wasn’t against a bad team. This was the Brewers who came back to win and torched Dyson.

    If we get MadBum, one of MadBum or Keuchel will certainly be worth an extension. I would be plenty confident with three of four of MadBum, Keuchel, Soroka, and Fried going into a playoff series with the Dodgers.

    Of course, a top reliever would be nice, too. Although, consistent with the above logic, I wouldn’t mind having Jackson and his slider, Newk and his curve, even Teheran and his junk against the Dodgers rather than a fireballer. Recall what the Braves did against Jordan Hicks.

  25. The Nats-Phils game today has convinced me that I overestimated each team’s offense. Either that or broken-armed Jake and ancient Anibal are better pitchers than I thought.

    I would have liked to have had Bryce but only at a huge discount. Still, his teams haven’t brought home many trophies.

  26. Braves now lead the NL in runs scored – 5th in all of baseball. Of course, CO has two fewer games played.

  27. We are now 4.5 games behind the Dodgers for the best record in the NL. The Dodgers have the best win percentage in baseball. A TOR starter and a reliever could help put us in a position we haven’t seen in at least 15 years. I would have never believed that just over a month ago.

  28. While we’re piling on Chip, today he continues his tradition of declaring every bunt that goes into fair territory as “perfect,” no matter if the result of the play is getting the lead runner or even a double play.

  29. OK, if we’re doing this:
    Chip regularly informs us of raw totals without context or percentage to give them meaning. He loves to tell us how many runs the Braves have scored this season in the 7th inning or later. Unless I know where the Braves stand vis a vis everyone else, that number doesn’t tell me anything.
    Or today: he tells us that the Padres are just 9 Ks short of 900 on the season. Without looking it up, I don’t know whether that is a lot or a little.

  30. It’s a real shame the production team (presumably) convinced him to stop saying “fisted.”

    Also, his call for every successful bunt: “[insert name] gets it down…and it’s a beauty! Only play is to first.”

  31. Protestations to the contrary, Freddie’s ball was caught by the “Marine Layer,” no doubt. I have a good friend who was known in Vietnam as the Marine Layer, but I guess that was different.

  32. Our guys are just getting completely shut down… Which reminds me, Bobby used to use Sundays to give a couple of the regulars a day off. Snitker still ought to find some way to do that. I know we’re just coming out of the ASB so they’re well-rested, but all the same, in subsequent weekends, day game after a night game, he should consider it.

  33. Philthies finally beat the Nats. It sure would be nice to pick a game up on the Nats as I think they will continue to give chase to us the hardest.

  34. The Padres are about a year behind us in the rebuild. What’s bad for them is that they’re in a much better division.

  35. Regardless of whether you feel about the actual performance of the pen, they’re definitely hard to watch.

  36. I didn’t trust Touki with the bases loaded, and then they brought in Newcomb, who I also don’t trust with the bases loaded. Then they brought in Sobotka, who I really don’t trust with the bases loaded.

  37. Like a frightened cat, I watched that inning from the top of the fridge, curled into a tiny ball of anxiety and fear.

  38. Well, I’ll be darned. Another heart-stopping inning. Snit is on some lucky roll with his choices right now.

  39. Touki should really be in AAA as a starter. Switch him and Inciarte when he comes up for at least a short while.

    Riley still has many adjustments to make…

  40. Pads have L/PH/S/L up next inning. Depending on the PH, there’s really no pitcher between Minter, Webb, and even Swarzak that I necessarily trust to get all 3 outs. I wouldn’t consider it to be over-managing for Snit to use a couple guys next inning.

  41. Are you guys watching this? Minter is pitching fabulously. Looks like the pitcher he’s supposed to be.

    C’mon, give Minter some love.

  42. Whewwwwwwwwwwww.

    Road sweeps are huge. Padres are going to be scarier and scarier as time goes on.

  43. Great to see Freddie get out of his funk – tried one for size earlier on, got under it to the warning track…and then, when it really mattered, he found his true power, He will be fun to watch again in Milwaukee.

    20 games over is a big milestone. Let’s give ourselves a margin over so we don’t drop back.
    Tatis is interesting but somehow i’d rather have Ozzie.

  44. So instead of getting the final score, I decided to read the Braves Journal comments on the game. Would’ve guessed we won by one or two runs, with the Padres scoring at least 2. Never would’ve guessed it was 4-1 win.

  45. @91- A 3 run homer in the 8th with 4 total runs and our relievers putting on several baserunners in the 8th and 9th definitely made it feel closer than 3 runs.

    We are now on pace to win between 98 and 99 games. If we continue with the kind of month we had in June, 100 + wins are ours for the taking. Question for me is who will be our 5th starter?

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