Braves 4, Bums 3

The Braves never trailed against the Dodgers on Saturday, cruising to a 4-3 victory. 

Just kidding.  The Braves really did defeat the Dodgers, and the Dodgers never led.  But those of you who watched the game, didn’t it feel like the Braves were trailing throughout? Given the recent struggles of the Braves bullpen, one could be forgiven for lacking faith.

But maybe Alex Anthopolous does know what he is doing.  With the Braves leading 4-3 going to the 8th, Shane Greene struck out the side, and Melancon got the save by allowing only one baserunner in the ninth, getting the Dodgers’ best hitters, including Bellinger on a weak pop to third to end the game.

But back to the beginning.  The matchup of starting pitchers certainly favored the Dodgers.  Ryu has been the best pitcher in the league this year, and Mike Foltynewicv has not.  An ERA of 1.4 vs. and ERA over 6. 

The Braves jumped out to a 2 run lead in the third, on an Hecheverria double (delighted to have him, but get well soon Dansby!!), a walk to Acuña, and an Albies double on an 0-2 pitch.  RAJ had been running on the pitch and scored easily.

Meanwhile, Folty was holding his own.  He gave up a run in the 4th on a laser shot homer to Matt Beaty (where do they find these guys? They’ve got about 10 guys on the IL, and they keep running guys out there who can crush it.)  Then in the 5th a walk, single, and a single by “Ned” Beaty (our organist played the theme to Deliverance when Beaty came to the plate) tied the game at 2.  At that point, Folty had given up 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings of work.  The problem was, he tossed 107 pitches and still couldn’t get though the 5th.  He only walked two, but it seemed like every hitter worked the count to 3-2.

[The Braves have two starting pitchers named Mike.  Other than their given names, they don’t have much in common.  I realized tonight that Folty is the Bizzaro Soroka.  Soroka is very efficient–at his best he averages 10-12 pitches per inning.   Folty is incredibly inefficient.  Did you note what I just said above? 107 pitches to go 4 2/3!  Soroka is is cool as a cucumber on the mound; Folty is as agitated as a cat on a hot tin roof.  Most importantly, Soroka is a delight to watch.  Watching Folty, even when he is relatively effective as he was on Saturday, is almost excruciating.]

So Snit turned to Sean Newcomb to try to close out the fifth.  What?!  Wasn’t he watching the night before when Newk single-handedly surrendered the lead Soroka had left him?  Give Newk a tremendous amount of credit.  He not only got Rios to end the 5th with the game still tied, he then pitched a 1-2-3 6th. To be fair, one of those was the pitcher and one was Joc Pederson who hits like a pitcher against lefties.  Still, Newk did his job, and it’s got to be a big confidence booster for him.

Meanwhile, Ryu had settled down and was looking like his usual efficient self.  But in the bottom of the 6th, Donaldson and Duvall went back to back off Ryu and the Braves led 4-2.  Luke Jackson caught JD’s blast in the Braves bullpen, so I guess that meant he had the right to pitch the seventh.  Given the choices in this pen, that seems like as good a reason as any to choose a reliever.  Jackson gave up a solo shot to Max Munchkin Muncey, but managed to escape with a 4-3 lead thanks in part to a vicious liner that was speared by Donaldson.

That led to the sterling efforts of Greene in the 8th and Melancon in the 9th.  What a terrific but nerve wracking victory!

By the way, I watch most of the games.  Paul Nauert’s pitch calling behind the plate was the worst I’ve seen all year.  It wasn’t quite Eric Gregg level bad in the Livan Hernandez playoff game, but at least Gregg was consistent.  Nauert called several pitches strikes that were six inches off the plate, but he also called a few balls on pitches that were plainly in the zone.  Let’s give him a pass, only because his bizarre calls didn’t really favor one team over the other, and after this great win I’m not in the mood to complain.

As I write this, we don’t know whether the Braves lead will remain 4 ½ or go to 5 ½.  The gNats and Brewers are 12-12 in the 12th.  The Nationals overcame deficits of 5-0 and 8-5 to take an 11-8 lead going to the 9th.  But Doolittle surrendered 4 and the Brewers led 12-11 going to the bottom of the 9th.  Hader allowed the Nats to score 1 run and then loaded the bases with no outs and the top of the order coming up.  The Nats win probability must have been about 99%.  But of course Hader then struck out Turner, Eaton, and Rendon to send it to extra innings.

I’m going to bed before that one is over.  But whatever happens there, remember that the Braves and Natspos play seven games in September.  It’s going to be a great race, but I like our chances.  If the new bullpen guys can give us more like tonight, we’re in good shape.

Braves try to win the series Sunday with Max Fried on the hill facing his hometown team.  He grew up idolizing Koufax and trying to copy him.  Show them what you learned from that, Max.

123 thoughts on “Braves 4, Bums 3”

  1. Brewers take 13-12 lead on Yelich homer in 13th…but do have to get through the bottom half with whoever’s left in their pen, obviously.

  2. Both teams are pitching J. Guerra. I think they’ve just decided to have the same guy pitch to both teams. It’s what we did as kids when we didn’t have enough players for two teams.

  3. Two-run homer Thames! 15-13 Brewers in the 14th. Can their last guy in the bullpen hold a multi-run lead?

  4. Brewers win! Nats had the tying run at third, but had to have a pitcher pinch-hit with two outs.

    We’re 5.5 up.

  5. There are only 11 times since 1920 that the winning and losing pitchers have the same last name and same first initial. The first four were contests between Syl and Si Johnson in the ’30s.

    In 1992 Jose Guzman beat Juan Guzman
    In 1999 Bobby Jones beat Bobby Jones (! Rockies over Mets)
    In 2002 Andy Benes beat Alan Benes
    In 2005 Oliver Perez beat Odaliz Perez
    In 2009 Jeff Weaver beat Jered Weaver
    In 2011 Francisco Rodriguez beat Fernando Rodriguez

    And just now… that’s it.

  6. @9

    Historians unite
    identify that special thread that found its way tonight
    coincidence abounds
    the game’s a vehicle for baseball and its storied sounds.

  7. (Polite applause)

    Five and a half huh? And the gNats miss several chances to win? Wow. Guess sometimes stuff just happens.

    Thank you, tfloyd. Go Braves!

  8. @12

    Did you take your barber with you? That would be a fine way to thank him for all those pearls of wisdom he has passed on over the years.

  9. Today’s lineup is rather scary. If we can somehow tread water for the rest of the month we’ll be in great shape. But this lineup isn’t the team that got to 20 games over .500 … the end of this season feels just like watching our bullpen try to hold a lead in the late innings.

  10. The Ray’s pitchers struck out 24 batters without issuing a single walk yesterday. That’s amazing. We’d be dumbfounded if the Braves did that. From the ESPN game report: “Since allowing a double to Boston’s Andrew Benintendi, the first batter he faced as a Ray, Nick Anderson has retired 21 straight, 17 by strikeout. He struck out the side in the eighth inning Saturday. Anderson was acquired in a trade from Miami on July 31.”.
    Wow. Wonder if the Braves were in on him? Imagine if we’d gotten him instead of Greene, Martin, or Melancon. Could easily be a difference of 2-3 wins already.

  11. The more I think about it, the more I think the opener is the way to go rather than the tandem starters.

  12. To Rob’s point, the Braves could have a RHP opener for Fried to help neutralize the right handed batters at the top of the order.

  13. Guys like Bellinger are gonna do things like that. Got to bear down and try to limit the damage and see what our offense can do.

  14. Hech is a pro out there at short. He was exactly what we needed right now. Can’t imagine Charlie or Johan being able to make that turn to end the inning.

  15. Just now able to check my Mlb app. I see Fried has allowed 9 base runners through 2 innings , but only 3 runs. That’s really limiting the damage!

  16. Ronald has to run on that. You can worry about trotting later.

    And the caught stealing puts the icing on the cake.

    Ronald not having a great game today.

  17. I don’t know if Acuna thought that was a homerun or an easy pop fly. Either way, yes, you gotta run. Mental mistake for the kid.

  18. I’m pretty ticked about that sequence of events. You have to know Ronald is trying to steal there, Ronald doesn’t get a good jump and they call for the pitch out and get him. All because he didn’t hustle out of the box.

  19. Acuna better be happy his English isn’t good, because if I was Snit I’d give him an earful right about now.

  20. Give Ronald heck, Jeff. He deserves it. Bobby would have yanked Andruw.

    In Snit’s defense, he has no one to replace him.

    Shame on you, Acuna.

  21. All of the Ronald stuff tastes more bitter knowing that his pitcher hit a ball within 2 feet of his the AB before and made it to second.

  22. Two balls hit off the wall with no outs and fast runners, no one scores.
    Way to crap the bed again, barves.

    Nice disappearing act by Freddie Freeman too.

  23. Max Fried is having a better game than Freddie Freeman. He is certainly applying much more positive effort into it.

    Freddie is in one of his really ‘blah’ games when, rookie pitcher and all, he’s never looked like getting a hit. Strange.

  24. Good for Snit for pulling him aside. I love Ronald, and everyone makes mistakes. But how Ronald chooses to handle himself on a play like that is completely within his own control.

  25. Something was going on in the dugout just then – FF looked agitated, angry even, talking to Snit who looked uncomfortable.

    My guess, you should have taken Acuna out.

    In which case we can expect a base hit or two from our first baseman before this is all over. He has become engaged in its outcome.

  26. I hope we can come back in this game without Acuna. That would be the best punishment. But, if you include the miss over the fence, Ronald has cost us at least 4 runs of gap today. Dodgers probably still score in the 1st but this game might be 2-2 right now instead of 3-1.

    Fired has been better every inning since the first. How does that fit with everyone’s “times through the order” theory? If Fried pitches 6, he’ll have had a quality start.

    If the Braves can’t score three then it hardly matters how well or poorly Fried pitched. Unfortunately, I think they can’t get it done without Ronald.

  27. So you reduce your win probability greatly for the sake of teaching a lesson. I wonder if that is what Freddie was arguing with Snitker about.

    Roger, even if Acuna catches that, if was a sac fly, dodgers were definitely scoring there. Fried Albie’s and freeman share some blame for not scoring after the Acuna goof up.

  28. @71 I think so. I would not have taken Ronald out here. You’re trying to win a big game. You can still talk to him afterwards.

  29. Freddie Freeman, he of the .305/.399/.567 slash coming into today, has one bad series and everyone turns on him. What’s a guy got to do to earn some good will around here?

  30. Not turning on him, but 0-11 with most of those coming with RISP, he’s gotta get some criticism with what was such a “big” series.

  31. I would have yanked him. The rest of the year is too important to let blatant self aggrandizement go uncorrected. Let the prophets of gloom and doom howl. Do the right thing now.

  32. I’m fine with pulling him early in a game when we have a 5.5 game lead. He should learn his lesson and it will help down the road.

  33. Joyce has made a real effort to go the other way the last few weeks and I’m really glad to see it pay off.

  34. It’s good to see that the Braves are not the only team that sometimes has problems with their best prospects.

  35. ORTEGA slam!!! I love our depth. I love our patience. I love our ability to come back. And I love torching the Dodgers’ best prospect.

  36. The Next Man Up attitude this team has had this year, especially the last few months, has been incredible to watch.

  37. @70

    Roger, you cannot define Acuna’s play over the wall as a miss.

    But your point attacking the old cliche, third time through the order, is well taken.

    Happily, you were wrong again re Ortega. We didn’t need Acuna!

    And i was wrong re Freddie – still no hits, none in the whole series if Chip was right.

    This game will be the making of Max Fried. He will take over the mantle of staff ace from Soroka with the huge boost to his confidence from what he did today.

    Rest Freddie.

    Between Snit and Freddie who do you believe was the one demanding Acuna be taken out?

  38. The TBS announcers spent almost all day bowing down to the wondrous Dodgers. Now I’m not sure they know what to say. Except that the dodgers are striking out left and right.

  39. @94 I am more than happy to be wrong about the comeback. Each OF we called up from Gwinnett has done something truly outstanding at some point. Ortega has now had his day – this is his game. And Max’s.

    And it’s nice that we have a bullpen all of a sudden. The General and Coldplay have been very good today.

  40. If there was a demand, it was Freddie. Snit manages. On the field and in the dugout, his word is law.

    The pen still has to get six more outs, but so far, mighty fine.

  41. The Ortega slam reminds me of the Braves of yesteryear, when guys like Julio Franco would come out of nowhere and get big results.

  42. I think Freddie might have been arguing for keeping Acuna in the game. Pretty sure Snit had already pulled him by that point. For what it’s worth, I think it was the right decision. Thankfully, we are ahead right now.

  43. Now THAT is what we traded for. What a win, what a series.

    Someone farther up the thread said this game showed the gap between the Dodgers and the Braves. I think this series showed that while they are scary, so are we.

  44. And Melancon cleans it up. Braves win the series.

    Did I not say it that the Braves have won every three game series where they have lost the first game since the Dodgers 3-game sweep in May.

    So the Dodgers become the third team we lost the season series against and the first one we lost by more than one game (2-4). After today, though, I can tell you it doesn’t feel so bad.

    8 shutout innings after a 3-run first. That’s great pitching.

  45. After the early drama, this could have gone a completely different way. This is the opposite of that meltdown game from a few weeks back. Took 2 out of 3 from the Dodgers and without a Freddie hit. What happens when he gets hot again?

  46. @108 I completely agree. Kelsey is fantastic. She’s also spot on here.

    We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Acuna made his very publicly, that we know. What went on beyond that is between him in the team; and will likely stay that way, as it should.

  47. Yep, I hope this corrects the issue for Acuña. For a guy with that many homers he should have more doubles. Forget the SBs, I’d rather see him in the other 40/40–that’s homers AND doubles.

    Good series Braves! Dodgers looking more human than previously thought.

  48. 36 games left, solid path to 94 wins, breaking it down into weakest, toughest and middle opponents coming up-

    Next 14 – weakest – 8/20-9/3 – MIA, NYM, COL, TOR, CHW – 9 wins, 5 losses

    14 games – toughest – 9/5-9/19 – WSN/PHI – hold serve – 7-7

    Final 8 games – SFG, KC, NYM – hold serve (should be better) – 4-4 =

    94 wins

  49. That’s two series lately where we lost the Soroka start and you’d have bet we were set up for a sweep. This group is very resilient.

  50. My thought is we will probably win 96 unless the Nationals kick it up 3 or 4 notches and challenge us really hard. In that case, I say we’ll up our game and win between 98 and 100.

    I hate to say I told you so (well, not really), but I’ve been right about 2 things recently. This series was almost a carbon copy of the Twins series after wasting a good start by Soroka in the 1st game. Secondly, I said our bullpen would be a strength at the end. If the bullpen keeps it up, we may be on to something.

  51. This could well turn out to be the final making of Acuna, the one where he becomes a man. And who knows what that might produce

    Does anyone know when he spoke with the media was he speaking english or was there an interpreter?

    @116

    Never apologize for being right. We are all so wrong so often.

  52. #117

    Here you go, amigo.

  53. @119 I think you’re right about the lip reading, but I could see the sentiment going either way (you just don’t remove your MVP candidate or you just don’t stare at a wall scraper in a tight game). Snit’s body language tells me that there’s some chance the two were in disagreement—the way he pivots away from the bench.

  54. @114 Soroka just doesn’t catch your eye, huh? I guess beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

    Of course, I like both. I think Fried will become an ace. He has the poise and demeanor to carry him over the bumps. Unlike some other Braves pitcher.

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