Braves 11, Pale Hose 5

I wasn’t as focused on the Braves as I should be for a recap, but it’s not my fault the Georgia Bulldogs kicked off against Vanderbilt about the same time the Braves started.  Turns out that was not really a problem.  It was kind of like watching the same game on both channels.  The Braves and the Dawgs both took big early leads, then shifted into hibernation mode, but held on to win fairly easily.

Indeed, the beginning of the two games was remarkably similar—both games began on The Bright Side of the Road. The Braves put up a 6 spot in the bottom of the first, and the Dawgs scored on their first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead.  For a Braves/Bulldog fan, I’d call those combined starts a Sweet Thing—as sweet as Tupelo Honey.  It turns out that a Wild Night Was Calling.  (On this date in 1945, Sir George Ivan Morrison, OBE, was born in Belfast.  Happy Birthday to Van the Man!)

I imagine you didn’t come here for a recap of the Georgia game, or for not-so-clever invocation of Van Morrison songs, so from here on I’ll focus on the Braves. 

Dallas Keuchel had only given up one run in his last three starts.  In the top of the first, he matched that total when he surrendered a leadoff single, that runner advanced on a groundout, and scored on a two out single. 

Ozzie led off the bottom of the first with a sharp single to center (Acuña had the night off).  Dansby followed with a double to the left field corner. Ozzie flew around third and slid under the tag at home. After two outs, Swanson scored on an infield single by Flowers, Ortega contributed a run scoring single, and Slugging Billy Hamilton stroked a ground rule double to the gap in right to make it 4-1. If the ball hadn’t bounced over the wall, it was an easy triple at least.  Fortunately, that bounce didn’t cost the Braves as Keuchel singled home two more to make it 6-1 at the end of one.

In the top of the 2nd Keuchel allowed the first two to get on and the pitcher sacrificed them to second and third with one out.  I was thinking this is the worst thing that could happen after a six spot, but Keuchel gets consecutive grounders to the mound to escape unscathed.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the Braves scored again, on a run scoring single by Joyce after the first two hitters reached. So at this point, they’ve scored 7 runs, with no outs in the second and two runners on.  But Flowers lined into a DP, Ortega flied out, and Hibernation Mode was on.  In fact, this was the Platonic Ideal of Hibernation Mode. (The Dawgs, by the way, put in their own version of Hibernation Mode after that 21-0 start, but the difference is that their bullpen didn’t make the game close.)

In the top of the 3rd Keuchel gave up one run on three hits.  Although the Braves still led 7-2, Dallas was up to 55 pitches through 3 innings.  He’d given up 7 hits through 3, but they were all singles with no walks.  In the 4th he gave up two more base runners on a double and a HBP, but no score. Finally in the 5th he had a 1-2-3 inning, although he was up to 92 pitches. In the top of the 6th Keuchel allowed yet another lead off hit.  (That reminds of tonight’s Chippism: When the lead off man in the top of the third reached and later scored, Chip said “So far, every time the lead off runner gets on he’s scored—except for the second inning.”)  But Dallas managed to get through the sixth with no one scoring.  Keuchel may not have been as sharp as he had been in the last 3 starts, but give him credit: he managed to get through six only giving up two runs.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned the bottom of these innings? Remember, it’s Hibernation Mode.  Nothing happening there.

Gwyneth’s ex-husband came in to pitch the 7th, and he demonstrated why Hibernation Mode is such a dangerous thing.  The Sox scored 3 runs on 4 hits and a 3 base error by Joyce.  Newcomb had to come in to get the final out of the inning.  Now what had been a cakewalk is a 7-5 game.   

Fortunately, the Braves emerged from hibernation in the bottom of the 7th and promptly got those 3 runs back.  They scored those 3 with only one hit, a single, but also 4 walks, a wild pitch, a balk, and a sac fly by RAJ as a pinch hitter.

The General contributed a much needed shut down 8th, and then Donaldson brought rain with a solo shot in the bottom of the 8th.   (Josh, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?) Tomlin got them in order in the 9th and the Braves win 11-5.

Our team is on quite a roll.  The gNats also won so the lead remains 5 ½.  This has got to be frustrating for them.  Those 7 games with them coming up will be exciting, but the bigger the lead we have going into them the better I’ll feel.

Julio goes for the sweep Sunday against Max Fried’s high school teammate.

66 thoughts on “Braves 11, Pale Hose 5”

  1. Great recap, tfloyd. Good day to celebrate Van. With the exception of the COL and TOR games last week, the team has done a great job of the offense picking up the pitching and the pitching picking up the offense. No extended slumping on either side of the ball. I do hope we could make it all come together for the upcoming 14 game stretch. With any luck, we’ll will have clinched the pennant by the end of it.

    I wonder if the Dodgers are going to try and tank the best record to play the Cards instead of the gNats.

  2. tfloyd
    two games, twin fealties and still not schizoid!
    attention to detail unsurpassed
    so please tell us which of the two will best last.

    thank you.

  3. Interesting how a mediocre outfielder can look quite coordinated /agile moving laterally towards a catch while, if forced to perform directly eye to eye, head on head, towards the camera and the ball, resembles a Pamplona bull in extremis. The drop itself is the least of the horrors.

  4. I wonder if the Dodgers are going to try and tank the best record to play the Cards instead of the gNats.

    That assumes the Nationals, if they are a wild card team, wins that game. In one game anything can happen, the Tigers could beat the Yankees.

  5. The Nationals went 52-25 in June, July, and August. That’s scorching hot. You’d think that’d help make up a lot of the ground their bullpen pooched away the first couple months.

    But the Braves went 53-27 over those same three months. The Nats picked the wrong division to stumble out of the gate.

  6. The Brewers are releasing Jeremy Jeffress. Went from a top 5 reliever in the game to castoff in less than a year. Likely will be ready to return from injury mid-September. Has a 2020 option.

  7. I was fortunate to be able to look into the dugout throughout the game yesterday. They are genuinely having fun and seem to really enjoy each other’s company.

  8. The cynic in me says that it’s easy for the guys to be happy with each other when they’re on their way to a division crown, they think this is the team that can finally win a playoff series, and they’ve won 11 of 13. After all, there’s no umbrella without a home run, and lots of them, for that matter.

    But I do also think that winning is allowing people who probably already naturally like each other to like each other more. And AA, Snit, and the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for that. Two former managers on the staff, at least one of which is well-liked and respected (and I’m sure Walt Weiss is liked just fine, too), and EY seems to be plenty popular too. For the most part, everything is just clicking.

  9. So after the terrible beginning to the post-deadline version of the bullpen, they ended up only 17th in bullpen ERA in the month of August. But 2nd overall in ERA the last two weeks, which has a lot to do with that 11-2 won/loss record in the last 13 games.

    fWAR continues to hate our bullpen. In 488 innings pitched — not a sample size at all — our reliever fWAR is 28th in baseball, but our ERA is 11th in baseball. In a casual overview of the rankings of those two stats, the Braves seem to stand out with having one of, if not the, biggest gap.

  10. Chemistry is an extremely important part of building a winning baseball team, in my opinion. When you look at the Nationals over the past few seasons for instance, you see teams loaded with talent, that have never really advanced in the playoffs. When you watch them on the field, they just don’t seem to be having that much fun.

    Those early 90s Braves teams I remember from my childhood seemed very tight knit, and looked to enjoy playing together. As the run went on though, they seemed to shift to the more “workman” type mentality , which seemed to coincide with more frequent early playoff exits.

    Yes baseball is a professional sport, but it’s also a game. I think players need to have fun, and enjoy the company of their teammates. I believe you’re correct in saying that AA and Snit deserve a lot of credit for helping to foster that culture on this team too, Rob.

  11. Opposing pitcher Giolito has really turned his career around. He has been dominant. Will be a tough one and we’ll need Good Julio today. Go Braves,

  12. @Rob
    Braves are 5th in NL in overall ERA
    Braves are 7th in NL in SP ERA
    Braves are 5th in NL in RP ERA

    One of the things to consider in FIP/ERA difference is the ability to field one’s own position. FIP HATES Soroka, Teheran, and Keuchel.

  13. @27 that makes sense.

    Great crowd again here today.
    Fantastic atmosphere compared to the last years. People are really into it. Awesome!

  14. Another reason who Julio can’t ever be trusted. Dude can’t get a pitcher out to save his life. Unbelievable…

  15. If the White Sox lineup had to face our staff more often, they’d be considered one f the most fearsome offenses in the MLB.

  16. Why do opposing pitchers love Julio?

  17. Folks, where were you? How did we miss the coining of this term? Anyway, I move we make this part of the lexicon.

  18. .299 BA, 38 HR, 113 RBIs, 144 wRC+, 4.0 fWAR as of these home runs. And both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference hates his defense for some reason. With any fair assessment of his defense, he’d be looking at a 6 WAR season by either calculation. He’s a borderline NL MVP candidate, but he wasn’t cracking the top 30 in fWAR before today.

    Fun fact, though: 3 Braves are in the top 30 in position player fWAR now. Even the fancy Astros or the big city Dodgers don’t have that. With that said, Astros have 3 pitchers in top 15 of pitching fWAR and the Dodgers 2, and the Braves only have one.

  19. I am still awaiting a resolution of the fox sports fight with dish network. I watched Gamecast pretty much most of this one.

  20. Washington is playing terrific too. They now have the third-best record in the NL. But this team has been incredible. It’s hard to say that there’s that much pressure being 5.5 games up, but there’s definitely some pressure. Hopefully this is preparing them for October since they got up as many as 9.5 games in September. It was closer at the end of August though.

    I also don’t think Washington will keep playing .750 baseball.

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