Oldest Continuously Operating Professional Sports Franchise in America 5, The One that Claims to be First but Isn’t, 4

We all know why Anthopolous worked so hard to add relievers at the deadline: so we would not have to watch Luke Jackson with the game on the line.  No such luck tonight. Shane Greene was given his first save opportunity as a Brave, entering the ninth with a 4-3 lead.  He now has his first blown save as a Brave.  Give Jackson credit; with the game tied in the 10th, Luke struck out the side.  In fact, Jackson earned a W, because  Ronald Acuña had a walk off rbi hit in the bottom of the 10th  giving the Braves a 5-4 victory.

For a while in this game, I thought we might not see any relievers for the Braves.  Keuchel pitched so well through six innings that it looked like we might get a second complete game in 3 days.  For those six innings, Dallas was masterful, allowing only two baserunners on a hit and a walk, both by Aristides “the Just” Aquino.  He had only tossed 72 pitches to that point.

Meanwhile, the Braves had built a 3-0 lead.  The Braves struck first in the third, scoring without the benefit of a hit.  Albies walked, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch.  They pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on an Ozzie triple, a run scoring double by Freeman, and a run scoring double by Duvall. Ozzie had two hits, two runs scored, and two stolen bases on the night (and as if that wasn’t enough, he pulled translator duty in the post-game TV interview of RAJ).

But in the top of the seventh, Keuchel gave up two groundball singles.  The second one was just under the glove of Camargo–looked like it could have and should have been an inning ending DP.  Then, boom, a 3 run homer by Aristides (“the best and most honorable man in Athens”), and the game was tied.

Mark Melancon made his Braves debut in the 8th.  He gave up a walk and a bloop hit but rendered a scoreless inning.  Then the Braves drew four walks in the bottom of the 8th to take a 4-3 lead.  Acuña got the go ahead rbi with a bases loaded walk.  He is so impressive; he so rarely offers at balls out of the zone, and his patience gave the Braves the lead.

And set up the perfect opportunity for Greene to introduce himself to Atlanta fans and earn his first save.  He really didn’t pitch badly.  In fact, as several of you noted during the game, his ninth looked a lot like a Luke Jackson ninth, with lots of bad BABIP luck.  He surrended a looping liner to left, and a ground ball single on an 0-2 count (with different positioning it could have been a double play). A dribbler to mound advanced the runners to 2nd and 3rd.  A flare to left tied the game, but Duvall made a strong throw to cut down the go ahead runner at the plate.

That led to the 10th inning heroics by RAJ, and as Skip Caray would have said, “Braves Win! Braves Win! Braves Win!”  Today is the 11th anniversary of Skip’s death.  He was one of a kind and a real treasure.  See this tribute by our own AAR: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rest-in-peace-skip-caray_b_116849.

On Sunday, the Braves go for 3 out of 4 in the series behind Julio Teheran against Sonny Gray. The division lead is now 7 games.  Keep the pedal to the metal.

150 thoughts on “Oldest Continuously Operating Professional Sports Franchise in America 5, The One that Claims to be First but Isn’t, 4”

  1. Thank you for the recap, tfloyd!

    What a strange game. I simultaneously felt we were clearly the better team while also being flabbergasted at our inability to punch through despite all the opportunities their pitching gave us.

  2. Excellent, tfloyd, the title alone deserves best recap of the year.

    It’s one thing to talk about winning an individual series, but a win tomorrow and the Braves win the season series, too. Lose and we lose the season series. Big game tomorrow.

    By my count (and I could be wrong), we have won 7 season series, lost 1 (AZ), and tied 1 (MIL) so far. We are down to two teams we’re behind (KC and LAD) and the rest we are either tied or leading. What this means to me (as I have said before) is that we can hang with anyone especially in the NL. We have games coming soon against MIN and LAD which should give us another opportunity to prove we have what it takes to compete in the playoffs. In the meantime, this team is a joy to watch and support even if they put us through the wringer sometimes. The pieces are all there and only small tweaks are required (e.g. 5th SP).

    With improved play from all of our division rivals, the NL East is no longer the weakest division. I think that belongs to the NL West or AL Central.

  3. The test of an announcer is not what he does with a good baseball team but with a bad one. There is no Braves fan of our vintage who doesn’t owe a debt to Skip for getting us through some pretty awful teams. (His son makes me question that first sentence, but I’ll let it pass.)

  4. Thank you, tfloyd, AAR. You two do good work.

    How fortunate we are to have those who recap as well as those who continue to bring the unique and enlightening commentary Braves Journal constantly provides. The site’s founder is well honored.

    Skip was a great comic sidekick, but I still miss the old righthander.

    Go Braves!

  5. Aladdin and a whole lot of overheated ink. Ref. 3Ks

    New lamps for old
    but contrary to what we have been repetitively told
    our old lamps still dazzled the brighter
    lit by Saint Luke, our own intimidating fighter.

  6. I still remember as a kid reading in the newspaper in the mid 70s that WTCG in Atlanta was going to be coming to our cable package for 162 games ( possibly 164 back then), with Ernie Johnson and Skip Caray announcing. The exciting thing was we wouldn’t have to tune into the high static broadcast of WSB radio in Atlanta. For a 9 year old like me, Skip always made it fun and never seemed old, even near the end of his broadcasting career.

  7. Geez what does Charlie have to do to earn a start at SS?

    Ronald Acuña, Jr. (RF)
    Ozzie Albies (2B)
    Josh Donaldson (3B)
    Adam Duvall (LF)
    Austin Riley (1B)
    Ender Inciarte (CF)
    Johan Camargo (SS)
    Tyler Flowers (C)
    Julio Teheran (P)

  8. @14 @15 Last year, Camargo hit .205 in 24 May starts. During a lot of that month, his BA was in the .180s. The biggest difference last year was that he was still taking walks when he was hitting poorly. So that’s an issue.

    This year, he has had 12 starts since Dansby went down. He probably needs two more weeks to really find his groove. Plus he has been a better defensive SS than Dansby. Talk to me again after 12 more starts. That may be one reason Dansby is being brought back slowly.

    Culby has shown recently that he does not take well to starting. He has an OPS of .633 (SLG = .300) as a starter and 1.003 as a late inning sub (where he also has 3 times as many plate appearances). Yes, Culby is a good defender, but we are better served if we can get Camargo back in his typical groove no matter what he does in the meantime.

    When Dansby comes back up, either Camargo or Riley will go down. They are sure to get all the starts possible until then to see who is better to keep active. If they wait until Sept 1st to bring Dansby back then no one has to go down.

  9. @16 thanks for the breakdown, that makes sense

    Per 538 ratings going forward-

    Toughest opponent 3 series stretch – 9/5-9/15 – 4 WSN, 4 @ PHI, 3 @ WSN

    Weakest opponent 3(4) series stretch – 8/26-9/3 – @ COL, 2 @ TOR, 3 CHW, 2 TOR

  10. @13

    Remy, that’s actually Ryan’s doing. I like it a lot.

    For the upcoming changes to the site, if you don’t like them, it’s Ryan’s fault. If you like them, then they were my idea!

  11. As I look at the new tagline and see the 64 worst Atlanta Braves just below the header, I’m reminded that we really don’t have a whipping boy this year. I guess Inciarte is as close as it gets, and he’s having a pretty good month.

  12. Argh, Julio doing so great until a walk after an 0-2 count.

    And he got behind before that RBI single.

    C’mom, Julio. You’re better than that.

  13. Julio is thinkin’ too much. Is he gonna make it out of the 3rd?? How can a good start go so bad so fast?

    He better start throwing what Tyler wants or he won’t go very far in this game.

  14. This game is exactly why Julio can’t be trusted in a playoff series. Good teams will make him pay for the nibbling and make him throw strikes. The Reds are not a good team and he is playing with absolute fire.

  15. “But keep an eye on the Mets.” -Chip Caray

    They’re a double-digit number of games out of first…

  16. That kind of bunt is exactly what Keuchel should have done with the bases loaded and one out last night.

  17. Two-zip is better than I’d feared, but there’s still that zip part. Can’t win if that doesn’t change.

    We may have found out first baseman. Freddie Pipp.

  18. Is Austin back? He struck out on a rookie mistake (swinging at a ball 4 curve) his first time, but he was on that pitch.

  19. Let’s see if… Chip can say “Let’s see if he can cut that lead in half” for a third time this inning.

  20. Camargo swinging at bad pitches. That’s not like him. He needs to do something to find his groove.

  21. Hard to win with the back half of the lineup containing Johan and Flowers. Too bad Culberson can’t play short…oh wait…

  22. @59 Inciarte has been our hottest hitter since he came back (1.227 OPS last 7 games). And he’s playing great defense.

    @53 You didn’t see my last post about Culby’s .600 OPS as a starter? Camargo is a better defender anyway.

    I would have liked to have seen McCann today. He has a good record against Gray.

  23. @60 Camargo ‘s ops isn’t much higher anyway and the continued starts have not helped his timing it would appear

  24. 2-0 count and leading off an inning shouldn’t result in a tap back to the pitcher. Looking for base runners… this team can be so undisciplined sometimes. Feels like we are going through the motions today

  25. @62 See my earlier post. Last year it took Camargo at least 24 starts to get going. He absolutely must be in the lineup as much as possible. Everyone on this site has been screaming for it all year. Hence the nickname “Claude”.

  26. I know Freddie needs days off a few times a year, but this looks like a white flag line up. Inciarte, Camargo, Riley and Flowers are not exactly knocking the cover off the ball right now.

  27. @65 not everyone. It’s a little late for Johan’s extended spring training. He is taking bad swings and once Dansby comes back he is back to the bench again. At this point he hasn’t earned any further starts in my opinion

  28. Culberson is much better off the bench than Camargo, so that’s probably a factor. Starting Culberson or Joyce takes away your best right-or-left-handed bat off the bench, respectively.

  29. Check Dansby’s post all star break numbers. Johan, in my off-season opinion, plays better defense; and the recent offensive output is not much worse either way.

  30. Somebody sort of mentioned it earlier, but this is as close to a Bobby Cox Sunday lineup as we’ve seen in awhile (some of it forced by injury), complete with Snit sticking with the crappy guy he started in possibly the most important AB of the game instead of going to the superior guy on the bench..

  31. No Freeman, no Swanson, Flowers over McCann probably plays a big factor.

    The 6-8 in the order today feels like a black hole.

  32. Sonny Gray is also pretty good.

    But yeah, the lineup becomes super weaker without Freddie in it. And you can’t ask a 35 year old catcher to play everyday.

  33. On that Flowers AB, he should’ve at least pinch hit McCann. You could make a pretty good argument that that was the time to deploy Freeman, even.

  34. It would have been nice to have seen McCann, but then McCann’s got to catch 3 innings on his day off, and you’ve used your last catcher with 3 innings to go. Maybe you do that anyway, but I get the logic.

  35. Well, letting Flowers hit here would potentially be even stupider…we’ll see if that happens.

    UPDATE: Ugh.

  36. Yeah, it was Flowers or bust with Garrett on the mound. I think Jackson will get some ABs in September if Flowers’ slump continues, but this will be a long month with Flowers being the plate playing like this.

  37. While McCann certainly can’t catch every day, nor probably even often enough to go full lefty-righty platoon, I feel like we could get it closer to 60-40 if Snit would wise up on the situation a bit.

  38. YEAH!!! Acuna Matata!!! You complain all you want, Ronald, about balls and strikes.

    That was revenge for Aristedes HR last night.

  39. @103- Just be careful you don’t get kicked out of the game. Cool thing in that at bat was RAJ’s ability to work the count at 0 – 2 after 2 borderline strike calls.

  40. Consider that McCann missed most of the first month and has still played more games than Flowers. I think he has gotten the lion’s share of starts.

  41. Not walking Adam here seems questionable, unless they’re just worried that their pitcher will crap himself and walk the game away.

    UPDATE: …or not.

  42. Will we EVER get another sac fly?

    I bet we lead the league in missed sac fly opportunities. That is either two or three just today.

  43. Has anyone mentioned how great Newk was today? He sure bailed out Julio and kept the game close.

  44. Woof. Duvall can’t keep striking out 33% of the time and be the answer in the OF.

    Problem is, Riley strikes out even more.

    Hoping those 2 can tighten up their approach.

  45. Greene’s slider doesn’t move quite like Luke’s. His first two outings are a bit scary. So Luke Jackson you say?

  46. Wow. Exactly what we did to them last night….. I guess that’s their revenge.

    Maybe Kimbrel would have been better…..

    I hope Greene can find his mojo before playoff time.

    We needed to walk off in the 9th. That was the killer.

  47. This Reds offense is bad. What will suck looking back on this series is that the vast majority of our pitchers had no issues managing them, but Shane and Kevin ruined it for everyone else.

  48. @134 – Gotta disagree there. The starters gave up 12 runs in 22-1/3 innings by my count. Fried was the only one that looked like he was facing a bottom-feeder offense.

    Others in the bullpen did look better, you’re right.

  49. @137 5 of those were Kevin’s, and 3 more were the homer Dallas gave up in the 7th, a situation he probably shouldn’t have been in.

  50. Welp, that’s team #2 we’ve lost the season series against. This team continues to struggle against top quality pitching. Maybe that’s true of all teams, but it’s surely a concern. Even without Freddie, we had many opportunities to win this game. 0/11 with men in scoring position. Consider how many more runs we would have had with just 2 hits in those situations. As you might have guessed today, Flowers, Duvall, and Riley were the primary goats with 5 Ks mostly in critical situations leaving 12 of our 22 guys left on base. They also had 3 hits including Flowers’ HR and a walk but, again, not timely.

  51. @139 – Fair point on Keuchel, but he did give up those runs. Haha I’ll argue Kevin was the one in a situation he shouldn’t have been in – starting a game for a team with playoff hopes.

    Julio’s 3 runs and 6(!) BB in 5 shouldn’t get a pass either. Garbage start vs that lineup.

    Pay up for Garrett Cole this winter, Bravos.

  52. Miss Demeritte already. Wish Camargo was given up instead, he still looks and acts lost out there.

  53. We are definitely missing Kimbrel’s 5.68 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, and 2 loses right now. Green will be okay. Give the guy a chance.

  54. @142: Kimbrel’s stats also don’t look great. I don’t think he’s the same CK as he once was. Is Greene somehow worse? I guess we’ll find out. It isn’t looking good.

  55. can someone expound on the incredible throw Acuna made charging in from right field to cut down a runner at the plate. Did Flowers catch and then drop the ball? Or did he fail to catch it at all?

    In all our frantic wheeling and dealing we completely sold our catcher problems short. Kimbrel is already a bust, as forecasted here.

  56. Flowers just missed a two hop throw completely; bounced off his leg if I remember correctly. It wasn’t an easy play, but a good catcher would’ve had the out.

    The Duvall K was a killer in the ninth; I would’ve gone for the squeeze if I knew Duvall could handle a bunt.

  57. Kimbrel is one of the best relievers in the history of the sport and Shane Greene is just some random dude thats outperforming his peripherals for 40 innings. We could have had one for only money, and one for prospects…we chose to save money. Time will tell.

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