HoHum: Braves 5 – IWOTM 1

Maybe, it’s because I’m tired tonight. I almost felt like begging off on the recap. But I can’t resist watching the game and so I did. Coming off the big series with the Dodgers, I’m not sure what I expected, but this game seemed so very routine and hum drum from the beginning. Granted that I was in the car on the way home, but I couldn’t get the doggone MLB.com app to work. So I missed the beginning of the game. Maybe I missed the biggest part of the excitement. From when I finally got the app to work (without causing an accident), the progression and outcome of this game felt inevitable.

I figure it goes this way: 1) The Marlins get a bunch of guys on base, maybe score a couple, 2) Braves get a bunch of guys on base and score nothing, 3) finally the Braves break through and score 5-6 runs, 4) bullpen closes the game out with some good and some frustrating performances. Does that basically give you the picture? How many times this year have the Braves followed this exact formula?  Not that it’s a bad thing, but couldn’t we have a game sometime where the Braves just go out and score a bunch and the pitchers shut the other team down and the Braves win in a walk?  I guess they have to give us some frustration so we’ll stay on the edge of our seats or something.

Fortunately, we had a few subplots to add a little bit of spice.  Tonight, for sure, was Freddie’s night.  After spending the last few games sleepwalking and striking out a lot, Freddie comes up big tonight.  He became our whole offense.  The team did a great job winning the last few games as a team without Freddie doing much.  Freddie contributed a solo shot in the 4th, another in the 5th, and a two-run single in the 7th.  4 RBI; game over.  Overall, the team was 2/12 with runners in scoring position.  Of course, one of those two was Freddie’s single.  The other was a Joyce double, also in the 7th.  I wish the Braves would convert more scoring opportunities.  Yet, somehow, we always end up with 5-6 runs.

Another subplot came from the part of the game I missed.  Another evil horrible Marlin plunked our Ronald on the first pitch.  The first pitch.  What kind of idiots are these people?  What’s worse, considering the history here, is that the Marlins’ pitcher did not get tossed and Snit did.  The umpires are stupid, too.  At any rate, fortunately, Ronald was not hurt, neither was he extra motivated in his next AB.  He did finally hit a rope in the 7th to begin the winning rally.  He was smokin’ fast out of the box and turned it into double.  Even that couldn’t come without some controversy as an earlier foul was awfully close to the line for a ground-rule double.  But a review said it was foul; I remain unconvinced.

The final subplot was our Dallas.  While watching each pitch and each batter, I thought he was not doing so well.  Yet, he kept getting DP after DP and stranding guys on base.  His bottom line looked respectable: 6IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 1 ER, 7Ks.  If it weren’t for a solo HR from Berti, he’d have pitched a shutout.  The only other mar was a 5/7 with a walk performance from Anderson and Castro.  Castro has a .666 OPS and, for the love of Mike, we can’t get him out.  Another annoying Marlin.  The bullpen was also admirably boring giving us little frustration even though Greene gave up two hits along with his three strikeouts in the 8th.  Overall, the bullpen got 6 strikeouts in the 9 outs they had to get.

Overall, this was a game that went totally as expected and fit norms established by both teams and several players individually……  ho hum.  I guess I could really live with a lot more ho hum like this, all the way to the World Series.

83 thoughts on “HoHum: Braves 5 – IWOTM 1”

  1. Don’t look now but Dayton is pitching again and Minter has a 1.89 ERA with 2 walks in 19 innings at Gwinnett. We could use the lefties….

  2. In the bottom of the fourth last night, 2 on 2 out, Ortega came up and Keuchel moved to the on deck circle. Low scoring game, 1-1 half way through.

    It played out where Ortega walked, taking ball four to load the bases, Dallas’ AB was predictably brief and we left them loaded.

    Why would you not give Ortega, fresh from his GS and excellent recent contacts, the signs to swing away in that AB or at the very least for the 3-2 pitch? Hardly a time when you want to work the count, it is effectively meaningless. Are there any probability indexes for situations like this?

  3. @3 The plan might’ve simply been to clear the pitcher’s spot? With Keuchel being a good bet to go deep in a game I don’t think it’s a bad call.

  4. @3 Also, that 3-2 pitch was pretty bad. If you get a pitch you can’t hit then swinging anyway is not in anyone’s best interest. I know it’s mainly a fluke of nature but we seem to get caught in so many bases loaded, two-out situations with the pitcher coming up. And, again, the Braves have the worst hitting pitchers in the league.

  5. @Dan from last thread

    Except it’s not an appeal to authority, it’s calling on testimony from a group who sees, first hand, the ramifications of not having extended netting, every game. Listen to Freddie talk about the nets and the worry in his voice when he talks about not wanting to look or think about what could happen when a liner goes into the stands. I’m not bringing players into this because their opinion should mean more because they are players, I’m bringing it in because they KNOW what can happen, and all the ways a person can get hurt even when they are attentive.

    On the other hand, you are presenting a slippery slope argument about a scenario that’s already possible, yet never gets lumped in with the extended netting discussion except for people hand-wringing about extending nets down the sides of the park. Which would lead one to believe it’s both less likely to cause injury and seen as a separate issue to the line drive screamers that cause fans, parents and players so much worry. If home run balls do become a problem, then I’d hope the MLB would address it as well.

  6. Thanks, Roger.

    1. Put up the netting. Protect the babies and the grandpas who bring them to the game. The kids cannot pay attention, and the old men are chasing the kids.

    2. Don Mattingly needs to become the designated bull mascot. Each game should start with yesterday’s overworked reliever winging his best fastball at Donnie Bushball’s leer.

    3. Heal quickly, BMc. I’ve enjoyed about as much of Tyler Flowers as I can stand.

    4. Go Braves.

  7. @Dan, Eephus When I first commented on the net extension looking ridiculous it was because I think taking it all the way down to the foul pole, especially in Sun Trust, looks like it could be an over-correction. So extending it down to the dugout wasn’t enough, but is the foul pole at the outfield wall really the next reasonable step?

    I believe one of Dan’s earlier arguments was about plotting the foul ball injuries and maybe extending the net in a manner that takes that into account, which I think sounds reasonable.

    And if that doesn’t do the job, I know what would. Extend the net all the way down to the poles but n number of rows back. People who want a screaming liner to the face can pay up and sit without a net while everyone else sits behind the net! Brilliant, yeah? Yeah??

  8. Braves will have to have LHPs ready to go in the playoffs and it’ll be more than just Newk and Blevins. Minter has the highest ceiling and possibly lowest floor of them all. He’s still been fairly effective on LHHs and was really good last year. Giving him some low leverage chances in September is a win-win.

    Dayton could very well be the guy that makes the postseason as he’s been remarkable against LHHs both in the minors and the MLB.

    From there, it gets slim which is why I believe Matzek, while a long shot, could see time in the bigs in September.

  9. John R, thank you SO much for that. I’m sitting here at work laughing so hard people wonder why I’m crying (if my corporate overlords are reading this – it’s a short article, just a quick break). Good stuff!!

  10. In my hometown park — McCormick Field in Asheville — the netting extends down the 3rd base line to the end of the visitor dugout, about 135 feet. I habitually sit in the front row of the bank of seats immediately after this and need to deal with a couple screamers per season. After another 75 feet is the picnic area where the little kids run wild — and 2 fans have been hospitalized just this year because of foul balls hit there.

    Extend the nets!

  11. Nets don’t bother me one bit, like most fans. Go read some of the stories of kids being hit with pucks and foul balls, and it’s an easy decision. I’m not trying to make some moral argument that you’re a bad person if you don’t want nets, but it’s just a great safety move, and like Alex said, you just train your eye to where you don’t even see the net. Let your eyes do the work so you can be safe.

  12. More importantly about Minter: 14 K’s to 0 walks in 10.2 IP. Unless an injury occurs, I would think they’ll let him finish the AAA season, and then work him into low leverage situations in early September with hopes of getting him on the playoff roster.

    I don’t think Minter is some AAAA pitcher like some people have said; he was just broken in late June and July. In 10 appearances, he gave up 11 hits in 8 innings, 8 walks, and 7 strike outs (less than a strike out an inning, very uncharacteristic of Minter). .407 BABIP, as well. If he goes down and emphatically rights the ship, you’re silly not to let him use September to get back in the team’s plans.

  13. Let’s be real though, this is why the net thing is happening:

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local/braves-settle-lawsuit-over-foul-ball-that-injured-year-old-girl/ZRdqTgtjBFIyqbhdM6N73M/

    It used to be the Baseball Rule shielded MLB from legal issues relating to foul balls, but when these lawsuits started succeeding they changed their tune.

    To me, the whole thing is very reminiscent of the maple bat hysteria from, I guess it was 2008 (I really can’t remember the year)? When all those maple bats were shattering and Joe Simpson was screaming on a nightly basis for a ban because someone was going to get hurt. Then poof, the issue just kind of disappeared for the most part, even though MLB hadn’t banned them. I remember people here debating the maple bat menace too.

  14. @16 People DID get hurt by the maple bats. And at least part of the reason why you don’t hear about it anymore is because the nets were extended across all parks, and because they forced rule changes on bat diameter to prevent the spear-breaking that was hurting so many fans, players and coaches.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/06/08/fenway-incident-puts-scrutiny-back-maple-bats/DTSOKWj3kR6621Fevq9wnN/story.html

    Because people freaked out about it, they added regulations that made them less likely to break. The lawsuits and “hysteria” actually led to good change, which is exactly the point.

  15. @16 I think this is particularly pertinent:

    Fletcher later added Major League Baseball as a defendant, and his lawyers asked the league to turn over documents from its investigations of steroid use by players. The attorneys said they wanted the information to show jurors that juiced-up ballplayers hit balls harder, giving fans even less time to get out of the way of foul balls.

    If MLB was found culpable because of rampant PED use, then it follows that changes to the baseball would make them equally culpable here.

    I read that there are more than 1700 foul ball related injuries across MLB each season. As of last year, every MLB team has had to extend the netting down to the ends of the dugouts. It wouldn’t surprise me if they mandate for netting to extend all the way to the foul poles for all teams by next season.

    The Braves are doing the right thing for at least two reasons now.

  16. @11 @15 My own personal opinion on Minter is that he is getting squeezed by the umps. I noted this when he first came up and again last year that, when he missed, it was by fractions and the ball was nearly always touching the line on the Gameday box. I also think hitters started taking advantage of that and stopped swinging at the slider.

    I am guessing that he succumbed to the frustration this year and lost all command or started grooving pitches – either of which would be a disaster. I don’t know what the general difference between strike zones in the minors and majors is, but I really do think that the MLB umps have much smaller zones than they used to. And Minter was especially susceptible.

    He never had egregious walk rates before this year (regardless of the deep counts). What I hope he has accomplished is to perfect his change and adjust to the smaller zone. If he has done those two things, he could come back and be phenomenal.

    I also think there was a lesser problem with him and pitch sequencing. I think that is Tyler’s weakest characteristic. I would hope that they can work through that once he comes back.

  17. @20 If we really do go to robot umps, it seems like skills like pitch sequencing would be of a higher priority for catchers, now that framing is off the table, for the most part. I’m interested to see how the developments in strike calling translate into how we define a good catcher.

    I’ll be at the game tonight, about 6 rows back from home plate, between the left-handed batter box and on deck circle. If you see a scraggly woman with an Eephus League hat on the broadcast, you’ll know it’s me.

  18. Noted. Will be on the lookout for scraggly woman with Eephus hat.

    If they’re going to go to Robo umpires, I think they should revisit the definition of the strike zone.

  19. I really need to get out to Sun Trust this season.

    Man, the last game I attended was Tom Glavine and Kerry Wood. :(

  20. So you’re complaining about the netting and you haven’t been to a game since Turner Field? Weak sauce.

  21. @26 Well, yeah, when I do get to the game, I don’t want to be staring through a screen, duh!

    It’s totally okay with me, though, as I plan on chilling at the Chop House anyway.

  22. My own personal opinion on Minter is that a 4-A pitcher is exactly what he is and that if he’s bad again when he’s activated as part of the 40-man in September, he’ll be out of excuses.

    He’ll definitely have a chance to prove that’s not what he is, though, as he’ll be called up when rosters expand. And should be BTW…he deserves one more chance given how he’s pitched in Gwinnett.

  23. @28
    I’ve had some that want to purchase but holding out for the Braves Journal regulars first. If I don’t get more bites in a month, I’m releasing them to the public!

  24. @30 I’m imagining you in front of a chalk board and a class full of kids, asking “so what do we say when the Braves beat the Mets?” while writing

    “IWOTM”

    on the board.

  25. Favorite trade target (and intended scheduled starter in that one game makeup against Col Monday) Jon Gray is out for the season now. Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make…

    Minter looked great in his previous Gwinnett stint before coming back and getting torched as well. I want to hope for the best, but until he consistently shows the ability to put guys away up here, I remain skeptical.

  26. On the netting thing, I do like the idea of having sections without netting. I don’t have children, and when I go to games it’s with other adults- and we pay attention to the game, and know what can happen. So if I prefer a view without netting, I do feel it should be an option, even if it’s a premium one.

    Again though, I completely understand why they’re extending the netting around MLB. I don’t love the idea of what it’s going to do to the views, but I’ve come to grips with it mostly because I know it’s for kid’s safety. On the other hand, you can’t insulate against everything, nor should they try. I don’t want netting anywhere near foul poles.

  27. Update on season homer totals via a linear extrapolation through 127 games:

    Acuna 44.6
    Freeman 42.1
    Donaldson 37.0
    Albies 23.0

    Significantly higher chances of a 3 player x 40HR season than when I looked at this through 105 games. Albies would have to get super hot for a 4 player x 30HR season.

  28. I will be at the game this Friday night at Citi Field and would enjoy meeting anyone who is interested. Go Braves!

  29. Good to see so many going to the game tonight making an effort to meet up. This should be de riguer. Those shirts perhaps!

  30. @30: Ryan, I’d like an XXL, but I don’t do any of that payment stuff you mentioned. PayPal is as computer savvy as I get. Any suggestions that don’t involve me becoming a 21st century man?

  31. Roger/King

    So you’re telling me that in the middle of a 1-1 tie and you have 2 on 2 out, pitcher on deck, with a very hot hitter coming to the plate you, the manager, remain preoccupied with clearing out the pitcher/do not swing unless its grooved etc?

    Never mind the two base runners then, the ability of Ortega to hit for recent power. Just lately we’ve had problems beating these guys. Why? Their pitching.

    The cart before the horse surely. Illogical, pandering to old tenets I suspect.

    But you cleared out the pitcher! Wonder what Ortega thought.

  32. @38 There’s no point in swinging at an unhittable pitch regardless of where you are in the lineup or who’s hitting. Clearing the pitcher is better than striking out.

    I know it’s frustrating and it annoys me all to hell, but that is NL ball at its finest.

  33. ‘Screwball’, now on Netflix is a 90 minute reconstruction of the whole Tony Bosch/Miami steroid debacle. Somehow they have been able to be funny and raw at the same time.

    Recommended. Perfect pre-game viewing.

  34. @35: I have plans to go, but there are family obligations that may intervene. Where are you sitting?

  35. Thanks, Remy. I thought Ryan had said that so I’m upsizing. Hope it’s enough to hold the burgeoning body.

  36. @7Bethany, when I took my son to the Chop House seats before a game last year so he could try to catch batting practice HRs, a 50ish(?) man who wasn’t paying attention was hit in the head by a ball and knocked off his chair. Looked/sounded really bad, like the ball hit a watermelon. Tampa Bay has an usher with a whistle in the RF seats watching during BP and blowing it whenever a ball is headed that way. That seems like a better solution than netting, at least for HRs, which take a while to get to the seats. Wouldn’t work during games because of the noise, but for BP it seems a lot cheaper than having to pay lawyers to deal with lawsuits even once every several years. I suggested it to a staffer at ChopFest, apparently without success.

  37. A Flowers triple and a Hech homer. Just like you draw it up!

    @53 that’s a harrowing story. Usher with a whistle seems like a great idea. I’ve seen some near misses in BP as well.

  38. I’m a little tired of everyone in the ballpark knowing that Acuna will be trying to steal so he can get his 30th stolen base. Snitker should rein him in a little. 30 steals will come, but don’t make it so obvious.

  39. @big d

    That’s fantastic and remarkably fast for snail mail.

    @coop
    We still have XXLs and we can do good old fashioned check or PayPal.

    Email me at cothrjr at hotmail dot com your address and I’ll get one to you!

  40. We are gaining traction on the first ever Braves Journal podcast! Only 5 more to go to break evenWill know more next week. Would be a crossover podcast, a crushable 30ish minutes and will have Brent Blackwell from Outfield Fly Rule, Kris Willis from Talking Chop, me, and any of you that would like to be special guests. Looking at 2 per month. There’s plenty of room for expansion and this is another exciting avenue of growth for Braves Journal. You all have my email by now so hit me up if you want to participate and what niche you’d like to discuss.

    Same goes for writing here. If you’ve got something to say, let me or Rob know and we will let you say it.

  41. New rule: Fan touches a fair ball, he/she loses a limb and starting pitcher gets the pleasure of hacking it off.

    Too much?

  42. @33: “So if I prefer a view without netting, I do feel it should be an option, even if it’s a premium one.

    That is interesting. I surmise it wouldn’t be allowed because it wouldn’t be symmetrical, but it’d be really interesting if like one side (down the first/third baseline) had netting and one did not, just to see if (and if so, which) one side has a higher demand for tickets.

  43. Ghostbusters theme for Harold Ramirez’ walk-up music. (Harold Ramis) That one took me a few seconds to piece together. Well played, Mr Kaminski.

  44. Got to be one of the more extreme outcomes, winning by 5 runs with only 3 hits. Probably occurs more often recently, but still looks odd in the box score.

  45. I think the Dodgers series got these guys pumped. We haven’t had a good long winning streak in a while. We are now in the middle of one. This is the impetus to put the division away. Except the gNats won’t lose either and are insistent on scoring 9-11 runs per game.

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