Braves 9, Metropolitans 5

Man is this team fun right now.  The Braves squandered a 4 run lead, but came on strong to come from behind and defeat the Mets 9-5.  Everyone contributed—homers by Albies, Donaldson (#30), and Freeman (#35, his career high), two hits by Ortega, Acuña with the go ahead RBI’s on an 8th inning hit, four shutout innings from the bullpen (Tomlin 2, Martin, and Greene).  But the clear star of the game was Francisco Cervelli.  More on him later.

Fried was the starter, and he was not exactly Maximum, but he was somewhere above Minimum.  He had been given a 4 run lead, on a Cervelli (who, you ask?) double in the second that plated two, and then solo shots by Ozzie and Donaldson in the third. Max looked quite good through 4, giving up one run on three hits.  In the bottom of the 5th, he had a runner on and two outs, but gave up consecutive singles to Rosario and Panik.  That brought Alonso to the plate, who crushed one 450 feet to center field and gave the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Fried may not have been Pontifex Maximus, but the newest Brave was well nigh infallible.  His Holiness Papa Francisco Cervelli was the story of the game.  Cisco was 4 for 5 on the night with 3 doubles and 3 runs batted in. He also threw out a runner trying to steal second from his knees.  (If you check the box score, it may show that he went 3 for 5. The ball he hit in his third at bat the official scorer called a 2 base error by Frazier.  But it was shot down the line that Frazier barely had time to react to—9 out of 10 official scorers would have called that a hit, so I’m going to assume that the Scorer will reconsider in the next few hours.  For now, we’ll go with 4 for 5.)

Speaking of new guys, Billy Hamilton had a crucial hit for the second night in a row. Are we sure this is the former Cincinnati Red?  He’s looking more like Hall of Famer Sliding Billy Hamilton.  In fact, he scored from first on Acuna’s go ahead single in the 8th.  Shades of Enos Slaughter. 

 It’s now clear that the key for the Braves is to keep scouring the waiver wires for under-performing veterans who’ve been released by last place teams.  The player must be hitting at or below the Mendoza Line–that’s the main reason they’ve been released, of course.  Hechavarria, Hamilton, now Cervelli.  No one could have predicted this.  On the other hand, I’ll feel even better when Swanson, Riley, and McCann are back.

And how about that bullpen? It was exactly two weeks ago that the bullpen hit its nadir, with the horrific meltdown in Miami.  Since then, they have been nearly perfect, and the Braves have won 10 of 12.

Words I never thought I’d write: I miss Jeff Francouer.  Frenchy was one of the most frustrating players in the history of my fandom, but he’s really grown on me as announcer.  Glavine was one of my favorite pitchers ever, and he provides valuable insight into pitching, but Frenchy provides humor that’s sorely lacking when it’s just Chip and Glavine.

I know this was only the Mets, but I take particular pleasure every time the Braves defeat the Mets.  The 1969 National League Championship Series was one of the big disappointments of my youth.  I was a teenager, so I had a lot of disappointments, but this one stuck with me.  So every victory over the Mutts is vengeance, and I never tire of it.

Braves go for the sweep Sunday behind Kuechel. 

102 thoughts on “Braves 9, Metropolitans 5”

  1. Thanks, tfloyd. Another good thing about today’s win is that we not only won this series but won the season series.

  2. “His Holiness Papa Francisco Cervelli”

    You’re a gem, tfloyd. Thanks for the wonderful and speedy recap.

  3. The Braves need to learn from their mistakes, although the umpires never do. Fried got a $hit call from umpire on a check swing where Alonso would have been struck out. The home umpire was horrible all night just like last night with the 26 strike outs. Many on pitches that missed the zone by a foot. I digress, my main point tonight is with Alonso up and the pass/wild pitch putting runners on second and third, knowing Conforto is next, in a slump, left handed, striking out almost every plate appearance, how stupid was it not to put Alonso on first and pitch to Conforto with two out. Snitker should be suspended 10 games for that bonehead move. Walk Alonso, Strike Out Conforto and go to the dugout up 4-2 instead of down 4-5. Grow a brain Snitker.

    AND, it is sickening to listen to Glavine and Carey make fun of the opponents just before they gut us.

  4. Oh, BTW, I feel your 1969 pain. That was the year I woke up to baseball. My favorite teams: Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles.

    I H.A.T.E. the Mets! Not to mention they won the World Series with criminals in the 80s.

  5. @3 I don’t mind Chip and Tom in that way. I watched the Mets feed yesterday and they were worse, more contemptible.

  6. This winning streak was inevitable. Just like last year, when two six-game winning streaks clinched the pennant, we diddle around playing .500 ball until we could have our big winning streak. What’s more, as much credit belongs to AA as to any one member of the 25 man roster. Last year, he made big trades at the deadline and the team responded immediately. This time, he made big trades at the deadline and the team didn’t respond immediately. So he has continued to tweak the roster. Every tweak has worked in some way. Every injury has been covered quickly and effectively.

    And the result is the current winning streak. We’d have locked up the division by now if the gNats hadn’t been on their own winning streak.

    Dayton going on the 60 day IL was the last tool in the box. My guess is none of Dayton, Webb, or O’Day get activated. I bet O’Day gets rehabbed and waived to see if anyone will pick up the rest of his salary. Everyone else will be activated on Sept 1st, including Dansby.

  7. “Fried was the starter, and he was not exactly Maximum, but he was somewhere above Minimum. ”

    I have to say. I really like this. And I agree with you 100% on Frenchy. The guy may not be able to hit much but he is definitely a very decent game analyst. He is light years better than Joe Simpson.

    Having this offense, fixing Folty, bullpen stabilized, injuries coming back which beefs up the bench…seriously, we have a shot this year. This is no joke.

    What AA has done in less than two years is increitable. Enormous credit should also be given to Snit. I love this team even more than the ones in the 90s….ok, maybe except the 95 one.

  8. I like the Mets, always have, for the humor that was on show at Shea back in the seventies when i took my young son to see his first New York game.

    The Yankees left me cold, their pomposity killing any affection that might have grown over the years. The Mets were – and are- immune to that charge, they were so ridiculous at times you had to laugh. How they survive(d) their absurd management right up to the present time i leave to them.

    One piece of minutia I will always treasure on those very occasional visits were the small poster boards fans were then allowed to bring in for wild gesticulations according to the state of play at the time. The opposing manager, reappearing once again to besmirch his ailing pitcher, was greeted by a display of these shaken boards all with a large chicken on display and accompanied by a chorus of clucking noises. Loved it.

  9. Has there ever been a Braves debut, at almost no notice, that turned a game like Cervelli did last night?

    He was unquestionably our MVP of the game. I kept on pinching myself when one slice of heroics succeeded another- effectively three doubles one of which was impeccably timed to consummate our very early lead. It set the pace, Alonso notwithstanding, and they could never assert themselves.

    But best of all, do you remember that throw? From his knees, perfect. A rose midst a garden of thorns. You wanted to cry.

    There are apparently 1.7 million people of Italian extraction living in Venezuala. Send our scouts in, bilingual of course.

  10. Funny thing on Cervelli, if he would have had 1 or 2 games like that before he was released, he probably gets a look by more teams. That single game bumped his batting average up 18 points and his ops up almost 50 points. That doesn’t include the double that was ruled an error.

  11. Thanks JonathanF. Maybe I should stay in the Big Apple till tonight and then have routed my return flight thru Denver, which would be more normal, than thru KC. Braves are playing well but also seem to be getting some better luck!

  12. @12: I’m not sure Cervelli was really looking for much more. After all, he still gets his full Pirates salary, so it doesn’t really matter to him what the Braves pay him. And he goes to a playoff (probably!) team.

    @13: Safe travels. If you change your mind and want to go the game today, let me know. It’s right between LGA and JFK!

  13. Braves II team pitching for the Redslast night: Woods 4ER, Sims 2ER, Gaus 3ER.
    Allard on the other hand: 6+IP, 0R, 0BB, 8K

  14. @14. Unfortunately flight leaves at 11:30 am. Maybe should have looked into flying back after the Sunday game like I did for the Diamondbacks series. But much easier to do that from Phoenix than all the way from NYC. Next year maybe. Go Braves!

  15. I agree on Frenchy. He makes a lot of backhanded funny comments that offset the stupid things that Chip says. I like he and Glav in the booth at the same time with Chip to balance things out.

    @3 I thought the same thing last night. There was no reason to pitch to Alonso with a base open. Snit has a lot of great qualities but sometimes he does a lot of curious things

  16. Don’t look now but with this recent winning streak we are on pace for@98 wins. 100 wins may be a little bit of a stretch with only 31 games left but it also feels very doable. Pretty amazing if you think about it and also recall that the consensus of BJ readers before the season was 3rd place and mid 80s win total iirc. Many predicted 4th place and low 80s

  17. Agree that it made more sense to walk Alonso there. It may be that Fried was supposed to do an “unintentional” intentional walk there; throw it off the plate and see if he chased. Turns out that he grooved one.

  18. @19 I thought he was just on leave for a little bit. They had announced it a couple of weeks ago during a game.

    I like Frenchy in the booth quite a lot. I like Glavine too. If only Chip could channel some inner Skip, it’d be a great group. There’s no way they would drop Frenchy. Who else is going to stare into the camera without blinking with that big goofy face??

  19. Yeah, I would imagine Allard is pretty happy with the first four starts of his Rangers career. It wouldn’t be surprised if they end up being a microcosm of his entire career: 5.1 IP per start, 8.4 H/9, 3.4 BB/9, 9.7 K/9, 4.64 ERA. I highly, highly doubt he sustains that K rate, and his HR/9 is also probably unsustainable (0.4 HR/9).

  20. @ Braves II was also pretty terrible for the Reds: Wood, Gaus, and Sims gave up 9 ER in 7 IP. There’s going to be some pitcher that doesn’t work out for us that ends up having a great career, but I don’t know if it’s going to be any of those guys.

    There was also another really interesting game last night, but in another sport. Go Gators. Ugly, ugly win.

  21. I think Allard’s got a good shot of becoming the guy the scouts have been seeing in him for a while, a perfectly okay number 4 or 5 starter. Trading a guy like that for a setup guy to plug the biggest hole on an otherwise pennant-caliber team, that’s a deal you do every time.

    Cervelli and Hecheverria were brilliant pickups, and I like Hamilton too. Camargo’s failure turned our bench from a strength to a weakness, and AA went and got three players with sterling up-the-middle defense.

    Right now we have a great offense, great defense, and our rotation and pen are both rounding into form. I like the cut of this team’s jib, and when we get Dans and Heap back, we’ll be a tough matchup for anybody.

  22. I love this team. I’ve enjoyed them as much as any earlier Braves team, and I’m also bullish on their chances.

    Where we don’t stack up quite as well as a couple of teams is the rotation. If Folty sustains what he did Friday, I’ll feel a lot better. But the Nats, Dodgers, and especially Astros have TOR caliber starters 3 or 4 deep. But our guys are good enough to match up when they are at their best.

  23. @24 Completely agree. I also think that the 2019 Camargo experience and Tyler’s recent defensive misadventures made it clear how much this team needs top-shelf up-the-middle defense. It’s part of the identity of the team and the pitching staff, and we learned through losing it that we can’t afford to go without it. That emboldened AA to go for those moves and it not only is helping us through a pretty severe rash of injuries, it makes us stronger in the playoffs.

    We have some VERY tough roster decisions coming up for the playoffs. Will we carry 3 catchers? Does Hamilton come along for the ride? Does Riley make the cut? You have to take Joyce, as he’s your only real LH option on the bench. Is Hech more valuable than Charlie? I suppose this is the kind of situation you want to have, but man, those are some tough calls.

  24. Regarding Francoeur not being on every broadcast, they’re just rotating the analyst position a bit more than they have in previous years. In previous years, Chip and Joe did pretty much every single game (with the exception of maybe one or two series). Now, there’s more of a rotation where Chip and Frenchy are the main team, but they’ll rotate Glavine and Joe in for some series. So Frenchy likely was just never scheduled to be on this road trip.

    Radio is doing similar, with Joe, Jim and Ben Ingram rotating around. Obviously, Don was going to be a part of that rotation, too, but they had to call an audible when he suffered his injury.

    Anyway, I actually think it works perfectly fine, and an occasional week off (for everybody but Chip, apparently) has to be a positive for everybody involved.

  25. @27

    I was thinking about that, as well. Luckily, we’re gonna go through a month-long period where we can carry all of these guys at once to kind of see how it goes before we have to cull it back to 25.

    Right now, I can’t see not carrying Hamilton. Hechevarria is more of a question, as he becomes more of a wasted spot if Dansby is fully back, with Dansby not needing a defensive caddy and Hechevarria not offering much at the plate (though he’s been pretty good at the plate the last couple of weeks).

  26. Donny at #21

    Frenchy must have a nictitating eyelid we can’t see. Seriously, he’s spooky when he doesn’t blink.

  27. My NLDS roster, based on the way things look now:

    McCann
    Flowers
    Freddie
    Ozzie
    Dansby
    Donaldson
    Riley
    Acuna
    Markakis
    Ender
    Hamilton
    Charlie
    Joyce

    Soroka
    Keuchel
    Fried
    Folty
    Teheran
    Melancon
    Greene
    Martin
    Jackson
    Newcomb
    Swarzak
    Blevins

    Notable omissions:

    Hech: I think it’s down to Hech, Hamilton, and Swarzak for 2 of 3 spots. If you’re asking me who I’d want more: a true backup middle infielder, especially one with elite shortstop defense, a true pinch-runner and outfield defensive replacement, or a fifth right-handed reliever in a short series with days off, then I think you can make the argument that you should go with Hech and Hamilton and not Swarzak.

    But you’re not going to pull Dansby to get Hech in the game. So you shouldn’t use your 25th spot to have a player who can only make a marginal upgrade over one position on the field. Hamilton will probably get in every single game of a short series, both as a PR and defensive replacement, and Ender also gets on the field as a defensive replacement. I long for a scenario where you got Hamilton, Ender, and Acuna right to left to close out the last two defensive half innings of a game.

    Camargo: Enough said. You have a good RH bat with Charlie, and a good LH bat with Joyce. You also have Ender. No room for Camargo.

    Cervelli: Don’t keep 3 catchers. Just don’t.

    It’s a bigger bench than normal, but it’s a short series, so you don’t need 8 relievers. If a starter bombs, you don’t need a long reliever. You have Teheran or Folty to piggy back.

  28. Well, they’re going to keep three catchers. I agree it’s stupid, but they’ve never failed to do it. My guess, though, is that either one of Ender/Markakis won’t make it back (likely Ender, if I’m having to guess which one) or that Riley won’t do enough after coming back to justify the spot, so my guess is that the Hech/Hamilton/last reliever calculus will be similar to what you discussed anyway, and I agree with your take on it.

  29. Yeah, I should have couched my prediction by saying that injury situations with Ender, Riley, Kakes, McCann, and Dansby will probably cause some of this to be sorted out anyway. But that is why I said “based on the way things look now”.

  30. They will keep 3 catchers just to have one more “power” bat on the bench. That might be the best way to go anyway.

    What’s the word on Markakis lately?

  31. In my opinion, Riley is the odd man out. Markakis is a brilliant situational hitter, something we’ll need against tough pitchers in the playoffs. The Braves will need to manufacture runs if they want to win, and no one is better than Kakes at moving runners over in a tight ballgame, especially with two outs or two strikes.

  32. @37

    One of the beat reporters (I can’t remember who, unfortunately) said the other day that he’s healed quicker than expected, and they showed him in the dugout on a TV broadcast the other day and he no longer had a cast on his arm.

    I think the bone is pretty much healed and he’s on to the rehab portion of the proceedings.

  33. I can’t imagine a scenario where Cervelli is on the roster but Riley is not. It also depends on which Riley comes back from injury. The earlier, good one or the later, bad one.

  34. @37 I believe they’ll do the same, and I agree the 3rd catcher is probably the best way to go.

    If Ender’s healthy, Riley’s probably the odd man out. If Ender isn’t ready by the start of the postseason, I’d guess they keep Riley as a reserve.

  35. @40 I can 100% see them leaving Riley off unless he comes back on a tear like he did after his call up, which I just don’t foresee. I think they’re going to opt for the defense though in the playoffs, and some of the veteran presence.

  36. I feel like we’re going to have to score 10 runs to win in the playoffs. Riley will be on the roster if he’s healthy. Duvall is the only one with options so I guess they’ll send him down for a bit if Riley is back before Sep 1.

  37. Charlie has turned back into a pumpkin for quite a while now. I’d leave him and Duvall off the roster, Riley too if he comes back cold.

  38. Agree that there will be tough choices for the playoff roster. I suspect that much of that will sort itself out during September, especially depending on the health of Nick and Ender.
    With the 40 man roster, a lot of guys will get a chance to prove they belong (or not) on the playoff roster.

  39. @59 The difference is Hamilton’s speed will always play, and Riley’s power have been formant for a month of play time, and there’s a book out on how to avoid his single strength that he hasn’t proven he can beat.

  40. One thing I like about Keuchel is he seems to have the ability to battle through mediocre stuff. He’s not going to twirl a lot of complete game shutouts, but he doesn’t seem to melt down the way First Half Folty or Gausman did. I hope Soroka and Fried and Foltzie soak up everything he’s got to say.

  41. Lots of things have to be sorted out between now and the end of September to start putting together an accurate prediction of who will be on the postseason roster. Injuries, who comes back strong from injury, who is hot and who is not. It’s just too early to guess right now.

  42. Something about Keuchel’s beard had been bothering me, but I just now figured it out: it makes him look like an Assyrian king.

  43. I was just watching yesterday’s game recap on Facebook. The following is a transcription of Chip’s play-by-play in the bottom the second inning, Todd Frazier batting for the Mets with a runner on third, two outs, 0-0 count, Braves up 1-0:

    “Todd Frazier, the final Mets hope, bangs it toward third, Donaldson’s got it, long throw to first, and Fried keeps the shutout bid.”

    To Chip, the second inning is a magical land where the losing team is down to their final hopes, and everyone is on the edge of their seat hoping the shutout stays alive. What are we gonna do with this guy???

  44. @41, If there’s ever a Braves Journal set of trading cards, I think you’ve got the front of yours squared away, Bethany!

  45. @71, He needs to utter that every time a batter comes up with two outs. It can be his catchphrase.

  46. “Final hope for [insert team]. Let’s see if [insert batter] can stave off oblivion.”

    That’ll come in the top of the first with two outs and nobody on.

  47. If Donaldson doesn’t clear 40 homers, we should probably leave him off the postseason roster.

    And he JUST missed another homer in his second at bat.

  48. @77 I was wondering the same thing except it looks more like he’s carrying a torch then just before he gets to third it looks like he “holsters it” or something…

  49. Do we have someone up in the pen? If Dallas gives up a hit here, you have to pull him.

    EDIT: Ah, the General is up.

  50. I can’t decide if it was a good move to hit Hamilton there and not waste a bench player since Hamilton was about to check in to play center, anyway, or if it was bad because it was basically giving away an out.

    I suspect the former, but it did make me cringe a bit.

  51. Whew. Was a lesser version of the weird win against Miami last week. All hits from XB, and win because of stellar pitching.

  52. A brief flashback to a couple weeks ago with the heartburn-inducing ninth inning, but you certainly can’t complain about eight wins in a row.

    Also, I rewatched Donaldson’s second HR and I’m pretty sure Remy called it with the umbrella thing @83.

  53. @60 100% agree with this.

    Riley could return scorching hot, and I might change my mind. Right now though other teams know exactly how to handle him. That’s likely to be magnified in the playoffs, when he’d be facing quality pitching in almost every AB. I’m not sure that’d be a good experience for him or the team.

  54. Considering how the Mets have been playing at home, a 3 game sweep with a little over half of our expected playoff lineup is phenomenal. Let’s clinch this thing well before the last week so we can set up our pitching rotation.

  55. Whatever they decide for the postseason though, I love this team. It’s so much fun to watch, and has so much heart. They seem to enjoy playing together.

    I’m also all aboard the give Donaldson all of the money train. Offer him 3, and I don’t care about the AAV. He’s worth every penny. He brings a confidence to this team it didn’t feel like it had last season.

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