gNats 5, Braves 3

Exactly fifty years ago today, the Atlanta Braves defeated the first year expansion team San Diego Padres 10-0.  The victory gave the Braves sole possession of first place by one game over the Giants and the Dodgers.  I really don’t remember most games that I saw or listened to in the 1960’s, but I do remember this one.  The big deal about the game was that Pat “Bulldog” Jarvis tossed a complete game shutout.  Jarvis had led the Braves’ staff in victories in each of the past two seasons, but he had struggled to that point in 1969, with an ERA over 5 (some said the lower mound especially hampered his performance). He went on to win five more games the rest of the way—including three down the stretch in September to help the team win the new Western Division–and lowered his season ERA to 4.43.

So what else happened fifty years ago today? Gaylord Perry hit his first major league home run in his eighth season as a big leaguer.  Back in 1964 his then manager Alvin Dark had commented on Perry’s weakness as a hitter by stating that “we’ll have a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry ever hits a home run.”  Dark turned out to be prophetic; twenty minutes before Perry’s home run on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the lunar surface.  Although there is no contemporaneous evidence that Dark made the comment in 1964, Dark often did take credit for the remark in the years after 1969.

(If you were challenged to name all HOF pitchers who ever pitched for the Atlanta Braves, how long would it take you to come up with Gaylord Perry? Extra Credit (without looking it up): how many HOFers played for the Braves in 1969 and who were they?)

Back to the present. Well, not just yet.  Coming forward to this date in 1993, many of you remember the great press box fire at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. That was the spark that set the Braves toward overcoming a 9 game deficit to catch the Giants and win the pennant by one game.  It was also the day Fred McGriff joined the Braves, which I suspect had more to do with the Braves’ remarkable run than a grease fire.

OK, now to July 20, 2019.  Although the Braves are still in good shape in this year’s pennant race, I don’t think we’ll look back at anything surrounding tonight’s game as a spur to a division title. The Nationals defeated the Braves 5-3, to move back within 5 and one half games of the Braves.  It was a very frustrating game.

With Mike Soroka on the mound, things looked promising early. The top of the first was quintessential Soroka: strikeout (on 3 pitches), groundball, groundball.  7 pitches, 6 strikes.  The Braves took a one run lead in the first on an Acuña single, a stolen base, and a Freeman RBI single.

(By the way, RAJ’s stolen base made him the Braves’ first 20-20 man since J Hey in 2012.  I’m not sure when or why 20-20, 30-30, and 40-40 became a thing.  The combination of speed and power is fascinating, I guess.  Did you know that Christian Yelich has a chance this year to be the first player since 1932 to lead the league in steals and homers?)

Soroka shut them out through the first three, but gave up a solo homer to Matt Big City Adams in the fourth.  It looked like an excellent two seamer on the outside corner at the knees. Then Dozier singled, but Soroka induced a groundball 6-4-3 double play.  My wife and I both promptly exclaimed “Pitcher’s best friend!” She was making fun of me, and I deserved it. I often complain about how predictable Chip is, and I demonstrate that by saying what Chip says, simultaneously with him.  She made clear that I can be just as predictable (and trite) as Chip.

In the 5th, the wheels came off, sort of, for young Mike.  He gave up 5 consecutive hits, leading to 3 runs and a 4-1 Natspos lead. But only two were hit hard. Anyway, Soroka went six on the night, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits.  Newcomb came on and looked very sharp, pitching a scoreless 7th and 8th.

Meanwhile, the Braves struggled all night to score runs.  Through the first 8 innings, the Braves had runners on in every inning.  They left 10 men on base, 7 of them in scoring position.  They pulled within one in the sixth on a two run home run by McCann (who had 3 hits on the night), but failed to cash in on numerous other opportunities, including leaving the tying run at second in both the seventh and the eighth. 

AJ Minter once again struggled, giving up one run in the ninth and leaving with the bases loaded and one out.  Wes Parsons bailed him out by inducing a double play to hold the damage to one run.  It was the pitcher Doolitle who hit into the DP, but as Chip told us, Doolittle holds the UVA record for career RBI’s—and after Strasburg’s performance at the plate on Thursday, I wasn’t taking anything for granted.  In the event, it did not matter, as the Braves went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Things don’t look as good as they did a week ago, but if the Braves can win tomorrow night, they will leave this series with the same lead over the gNats that they entered it.  Who will the Braves turn to? With Fried out, the Braves are short of starting pitchers.  Right now, it’s Soroka, Kuechel, Terehán, and pray for un huracán. It appears it will be Kevin Gausman, in his first game back from AAA purgatory.  It would be very helpful if he can pitch like the Gausman of late 2018 rather than early 2019.  On the bright side, it appears that we will avoid Scherzer this series. He’s eligible to come off the IL, but at last report he won’t be ready tomorrow.

142 thoughts on “gNats 5, Braves 3”

  1. Austin Voth was supposed to make the spot start tomorrow, but he’s hurt too. Joe Ross is scheduled to sub for the sub.

  2. Iirc, the press first started to pay attention to HR-SB combinations when Bobby Bonds came close to 40-40. Willie Mays had several impressive years 20 years before Bonds, but Mays did so many things well that the HR-SB combinations didn’t stand out as much.

    I forgot about one of the 1969 HOFers but remembered the others.

  3. Does any one know anything about the warnings superimposed on the Dish pictures of Saturdays game claiming that Sundays game would be the last SportsSouth broadcast that Fox would be sending via Dish and Sling? Scary stuff if you’re a Dish subscriber. Some kind of warfare between the two.

  4. As bad as Gausman seemed to be pitching before his IL stint, he still had a 4.19 FIP and 4.60 xFIP. In theory, he was hurt to the tune of 2 ER/9 by his defense. We acquired Gausman because our defense was supposed to be so much better than the O’s. If he’s really added two pitches even if just for show, he’ll be a lot better. And he has always been a 2nd half pitcher.

    I didn’t get to see the game much on video, but how much did defense and defensive positioning hurt Soroka in the 5th? There sure weren’t any EBH – all singles. We seem to be vulnerable to these innings with 4-6 hits in a row, all singles. There have been several.

    I keep staring at our defense stats on MLB.com and FG and it’s hard to see why we’re rated so lowly. We are decent at DRS, decent at OOZ, not many errors, lots of DPs and assists, etc… What stands out at FG is our Range Rating (28th) which kills our UZR. At MLB.com, SB rate allowed and PB/WP rates stick out like a sore thumb. I just don’t understand why it seems like we’re not getting to as many balls as we did last year.

  5. Roger, the fifth started with a Luke Jackson special, ball beaten straight into the ground by Anibal. Bad positioning IMHO, as in why the third baseman was so backed up with the pitcher batting. Throw was an error and unnecessary.

    The fourth one is probably caught by any right fielder with more speed than Neck ( so most of them).

    The third hit was a chopper off the plate that was impossible to field.

    Rage doesn’t let me remember the other two hits, but they weren’t as unlucky as these three.

    Even the Adams HR is probably robbed by Acuna if he is in LF.

  6. Win today and all the hard work by the Nats and poor baseball by the Braves goes away, but a loss would really sting.

  7. Great read, tfloyd. Your recaps brighten my day. Thank you.

    Echoing oldtimer?, win today. Yesterday’s gone, and good riddance.

    Go Braves.

  8. So because of his fairly one-dimensional offensive profile, Austin Riley has a .815 OPS but only a 102 wRC+. And because he’s also not particularly strong defensively (though playing out of position), he’s at 0.7 fWAR after 58 games, which would be about a 2 fWAR 162-game pace.

    Has Austin Riley disappointed you?

  9. Can’t be disappointed in a rookie that almost singled-handedly vaulted us into first place. He’s not going to be perfect, but his presence in our lineup adds a threat that none of the other options provide. And again, for the one millionth time, defensive WAR doesn’t matter for a LF.

  10. @10 – I believe if they keep running him out there, that he will end up better than that. Regardless of WAR it *feels* like he made a difference in a number of wins.

    Maybe the better question is, what are his Wins Above Ender?

  11. Yeah, exactly. I’d say Riley has been as advertised, and better than I could have hoped. For a big power hitter with a hole in his swing, I wouldn’t expect him to stick in the majors this long – I’d expect him to scuffle and ride the Gwinnett shuttle a few more times before he stays for good.

    Right now, he’s a decent enough outfield starter. I continue to be annoyed at Snitker not giving Markakis more days off, but Riley needs reps.

  12. I would bring Duvall up to give Riley a mental breather.

    But AAR is right: Markakis is really the one who needs to sit.

  13. Any handymen/women around here?

    I have a stamped & stained concrete patio and a small depression developed about an inch wide by half an inch deep.

    Any thoughts on what I should patch it with?

  14. I looked it up last night. I knew the obvious ones (Aaron, Niekro) but guessed Mathews and forgot and Cepeda and didn’t know we had Wilhelm.

  15. Thanks, tfloyd, my cybertwin. I had Niekro, Aaron, and Cepeda but forgot about Wilhelm. On the other hand, in my personal HoF I’d have to include Rico Carty as well. Felipe and Dusty could well get in eventually as well, as could Terry Francona, who I believe was a bat boy on that team.

  16. Same here on both Gausman and Newk.

    The talent is in the organization to have a deep, elite pitching staff. It’s just always in such a state of flux with how volatile pitchers are.

  17. Carty was a better hitter than Cepeda, but thanks to injuries and other issues he didn’t put up the career numbers.

    Without doing any research, I think it’s pretty rare to have four or more future HOFers on a team at the same time. Of course the Braves had many years in the 90’s and 00’s in which they did.

  18. Gausman pitched fairly well on his rehab stint. Hopefully he is fixed/healthy.

  19. I don’t hate it for the player the way some people do, but I think it’s so stupid to call up a player like Weigel and not use him. Maybe you’re not going to form observations about him based on one outing, but what if you let Weigel go out there today pitch two innings, and he was great? That would certainly put some wind in his sails, but it would be gaining ground on the target of finding out who in this vast sea of pitching prospects is any good or not.

  20. MLBTR suggests the Braves and Stroman make a lot of sense:

    The Braves were among the teams present to scout Marcus Stroman’s latest outing, per David O’Brien of The Athletic (via Twitter). The Braves are in many ways the perfect partner for a team with a moveable asset like the Blue Jays, as Atlanta is flush with near-ready major league arms, but lacking the consistency it desires as a team positioned for the playoffs. The asking price for Stroman is said to be high – in the area of what the Pirates surrendered for Chris Archer – but Toronto is likely taking the call even if Atlanta starts with one of its ready-but-struggling arms, depending on whom the Blue Jays favor from the group of Max Fried, Bryse Wilson, Sean Newcomb, Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright. Landing in Atlanta would reunite Stroman with Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who was the Jays’ GM when they drafted the hurler 22nd overall in 2012.

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/07/pitcher-notes-braves-stroman-mets-wheeler-fulmer-giants.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

  21. If we trade Fried I’m going to need to take a week to mourn the loss of my latest Baseball Husband.

  22. @32 Philadelphia makes a ton of sense for Harvey. They were in on Cashner, who is a bit meh. They don’t really have the farm to shop top shelf, though. I see it happening.

  23. I was hoping to see how Weigel fared in the bigs, but I also think it was obvious from the beginning, the Braves had no intention of using Weigel unless we were behind 13-0. Weigel is still too fresh from TJS and cannot be expected to be at full functionality yet. Although, he’s looked pretty darn good in the minors and would make a great middle or short reliever.

    Looking forward very much to a rejuvenated Gausman.

    @10 Riley’s defense is positively rated at FG. In fact, he is one of the few Braves who is positively rated right now. Markakis, Freeman, Swanson all negatively rated and worse than last year. Ender is positive but Acuna has been rated higher.

    Personally, I think Dansby is afraid of injuring his wrist trying to make exceptional plays in the field.

  24. They really have been babying Weigel this season and I didn’t really expect him to pitch except in a blowout or extra inning game where nobody else was left.

    They really do need to replace Minter or stop using him against RHB a la Blevins.

  25. I would rather spend the evening telling Chip to shut up than to listen to the ESPN broadcasters, but tonight I will take one for the team.

  26. ESPN..2 outs at the wall
    only ARod saw the humor in the first of them
    PBB man…Eaton now 0 for 2…0 for 2 ??????

    First ever ML opening innings totalling over 1000ft?

  27. I just hate that field mic that ESPN uses. I like Vasgersian. That’s the only redeeming quality of their broadcast. But the field mic ruins it for me.

  28. We have really struggled to score runners from third with less than 2 outs. That has killed us

  29. Our best clutch RBI man comes through again. Dansby’s 1st to third was so perfect technically it didn’t even draw a throw.

  30. good start but, oddly and wastefully, two of the three outs were called strike threes leaving 5 guys on base saying, what?

    I used the politer term.

  31. Aren’t we impressed by Gausman’s velocity and control, sigh of relief? Somebody say something!

  32. If either of Gausman or Folty come back competent, then that’s similar to a trade acquisition. I still think we’re short an ace, which I don’t trust either currently to be.

  33. Bowman:

  34. I think it’ll be more interesting to see how Gaus does with two pitches against the order a third time. I don’t see how he’s going to make it with two pitches.

  35. @60

    More interesting then maybe but surely what was on the front of our minds was those first three innings.

  36. I along with millions of other Americans can sympathize with Ryan Zimmerman about his plantar fasciitis.

  37. Maybe we should stop having the pitcher pull the bunt back and swing. Seems like every time it turns into a double play.

  38. Another game against the Nats where they hand us tons of opportunities we don’t seem to take advantage of.

  39. With the ESPN field mikes on their usual profundo tonight we must be grateful that none was located any closer to poor Kurt, in extremis.

  40. No change.

  41. Mr. Gausman has pitched himself one fine game. Pat him on the back and sit him down, please Snit.

  42. There’s gotta be a way to create a Twitch-like website where anybody could stream their own commentary and ‘announcing’ for a MLB game.

    I would gladly mute the real broadcast and listed to Sam sarcastically narrate the action or blazon use the English language in its proper form.

    I suppose it would violate the prohibition on disseminating the accounts or descriptions of the game, but could mlb enforce that? Anybody on here a lawyer?

  43. I think Snit will PH considering it’s his first game back, but I wouldn’t mind sending him back out.

    Edit: ok I’m wrong

  44. Cease the search for aces
    milli-bucks and tired old faces
    10 pitches an inning
    is why we are winning.

  45. @92

    Not a lawyer, but pretty sure it would all depend on whether MLB partnered with it.

    If you’re talking totally outside the realm and purview of MLB, then no, it’s not legal.

  46. He threw over 100 pitches in his last rehab start, so I don’t think there’s an issue there.

  47. @102

    I was about to say something similar. I can’t think of a pitcher I’d rather have Flowers catch than McCann.

    Also, LOL…what the hell was all that?

  48. It’s a good thing the Nats outfielder just decided to throw it any old place and missed the relay guy by 20 feet.

  49. #105

    Listening to the radio. Can’t wait to see the highlight of that play.

    I keep getting suckered every time they announce that the Braves’ hottest prospect has been called up… Louisiana Hot Sauce.

  50. Worse than Acuna’s slip was Robles’ throw and the bad relay. That was just as Bad News Bears for the Nats as us.

  51. @110

    Yeah, I’m pretty sick of that one, too.

    @111

    I mean, it’s an easy out if Robles hadn’t just launched it in the general direction of the infield. The pitcher probably shouldn’t be acting as the relay guy on that play.

    Also, somebody should tell Ronald that third base has been in the same spot for roughly 170 years.

  52. I thought the announcers made the very astute comment that the Nats essentially gave up on this game by pitching Doolittle for five outs yesterday. They knew their chances of winning with Ross were low and they are happy to get out with a split.

  53. @113

    The question is why, since losing this game basically lays waste to all their good play in the series up to this point. A split definitively helps us and not them.

  54. It’s gonna be a complete game shutout. We need at least one this year. With a day off tomorrow, two games against the Royals, and another day off, our bullpen should be rested and ready for the Phils and GNats again next week.

    I can’t recall when but I know I mentioned that Donaldson has typically been a monster in August (OPS over 1.000 for career). His second best month is July so his monster act may start after the break.

    I want to hear a lot more props for Gausman here before the night’s over. The guy could end up being a maniac over the second half. I agree that we could use a TOR, but it wouldn’t be so bad going in with Soroka, Keuchel, and Gaus/Fried/Teheran. Honestly, the only games we got blown out in were Wilson/Wright same as the opening series of the year against the Phils. I’d like to see what Folty could do as a reliever. I would still love a lockdown closer.

  55. Nice job, Gaus. Probably will lose the shutout, but man, really glad he’s got something to show for getting back up here.

    How many starts do you have to see before you think Gausman is back?

  56. @114 I think they’re simply recognizing that they don’t have a 5th starter right now, so prioritizing winning the other 4 has to be the play.

    Crazy thing is that Ross wasn’t bad today. That’s why you gotta play the game.

  57. Oh well, guess that long inning eliminated the possibility of a complete game. Sure would be nice if he didn’t get Grybo’d.

    You know, on the replay of the Acuna slip, I think he slid as far as he would have run and the momentum let him pop right up without hardly missing a beat. I’m not sure a good throw would have gotten him anyway.

  58. Gausman was very good today and has earned another start at the very least. Hopefully the time off gave him a chance to reset and he’ll be like he was in the second half last year.

  59. Last year, in 161 IP, Newcomb accumulated 1.7 bWAR. In 44.1 IP this year, primarily as a reliever, he has 1.3 bWAR. Incredible how valuable you can be when you are lights-out in the pen.

  60. The General puts them away. Can’t hardly blame him for the Grybo – sometimes the luck is not with you.

  61. @118

    The theory, I guess, being that this series actually went sideways for them when they couldn’t figure out a way to parlay the two-out, game-tying home run into an extra-innings win on Friday.

  62. My wife’s funny. She said she had a talk with Luke Jackson before the game. She said she told him to tighten this sh*t up. Said there’s savages in the box. I swear she said this.

  63. 129 — Referencing Aaron Boone’s ejection the other day lol

    Washington’s bullpen is horribad.

  64. Haha yeah. She’s heard me listening to it quite a few times. For me, that manager rant is an all-timer.

  65. Well pitched, well managed game, with very little drama and even a little slapstick from RAJ to complement his awesome power. Great way to enter a day off.

  66. I have no idea what Gaus will do from this point forward, so it’s just nice to be a fan sometimes and just enjoy the individual performance.

  67. Some splits feel better than others.

    Depends entirely on if the team wins or loses that last game.

    If the Braves won yesterday and lost today after a Luke Jackson blown save, a split would feel quite disappointing, vs. the Braves having won today.

  68. Outstanding (and unexpected) outing from Gausey today. That’s what Bobby would’ve called him. Everything had to end in Y.

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