Folty-licious: Braves 7 – Blue Jays 2

After whiffing on the recap last week, I’m anxious to put one out expeditiously this week. So, naturally, it’s the day after Labor Day and school starts and work is backed up.  By the time I leave at 7pm and make my way through traffic, I’ve missed the first inning.  The first was the most important one.  Now the first inning is not the most interesting for the reason you think. I was glad to see the Braves jump all over the “opener” for tonight to the tune of four straight hits to lead off. What makes it the most interesting is watching our Ronald break out of his slump in the only way he could – with a first inning smash off the Braves’ first pitch of the game. The hit wasn’t a HR – merely a triple – but there is nothing more important than Ronald’s getting back to being Ronald.

So with a two run 1st inning lead, the Braves turned the game over to Folty. If that makes you shiver with antici…………..pation, that’s probably not a good thing. There was no single inning where I was comfortable with where Folty was at. The bottom line was 5 innings, 0 runs, 2 hits, 3 walks, and 2Ks.  This sounds good and is good for tonight’s game, but a better team would have ripped him to shreds.  The Blue Jays just don’t walk.  A team that can take a pitch would have had twice as many walks and probably would have scored a couple of crooked numbers.  Tonight was a “no” on Folty.

While Folty was wiggling his way through five innings, the Braves offense went into hibernation mode.  The Blue Jays helped them wake up in the bottom of the fifth with a couple of walks and a wild pitch.  Josh Donaldson doubled them both in after he quit salivating over the opportunity.  With a 4-0 lead, Snit brought in Bryse Wilson.  The Braves obviously planned this and it confuses the heck out of me.  I’m not sure why they would have scratched Wilson in the IL playoffs to pitch a couple of middle innings.  Whatever the reason, Wilson failed to deliver.  In the 6th, he immediately gave up a leadoff double.  He got the next three on flyouts and I thought he might make it.  Unfortunately, three XBHs later in the 7th, it was 4-2 and Wilson was done.  Probably done for a playoff roster spot too.

The good news is that Newk came in and squashed the rally with a ground out and a K.  He then pitched a perfect 8th.  Best performance by Newk in quite a while.  The Blue Jays helped all over again by walking the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom half of the 8th.  Another drooling Braves hitter came up – this time TFlow – and doubled home all three.  The Braves made this interesting as Dansby tried really hard to pass Joyce on the basepath.  In fact, I thought Dansby might have been able to round the bases twice before Joyce got to 3rd.  Ultimately, Dansby put on the brakes and both scored right behind each other.

With a 7-2 lead, Blevins came in and pitched a perfect ninth for the win.  So our best relievers had the night off and another day off before facing the gNats.  Speaking of which, the DeGrom/Scherzer matchup was kind of a dud.  Both pitchers gave up four runs which will help M-m-m-m-Mike Soroka get closer to an ERA title.  Unfortunately, the Mets shMets managed to blow a 6-run 9th inning lead after scoring 5 in the top of the 9th.  These teams scored a combined 15 runs in the 8th/9th and 12 runs in the 9th alone.  The gNats won on a Zuke walkoff 3-run HR and the Braves lost a primo opportunity to gain a game on the gNats.  I hope our pitchers are ready for the upcoming onslaught.

64 thoughts on “Folty-licious: Braves 7 – Blue Jays 2”

  1. Welcome back, Roger. And I get my only non-ASG day off tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Mets-Nats rubber game will be very interesting. The standard story will be that the dispirited Mets will not show up and the Nats will walk over them. But I’m not so sure… (Look! He’s counting on the lolMets!) If the Mets win tomorrow, it may take off a bit of the shine. It’s a YouTube game for anyone interested.

  2. Matt Joyce
    was little more than a solitary voice
    crying in the wilderness
    where is the wall? but that only added to his bewilderness.

  3. JD
    his career approaches its apogee
    a final climactic stage
    for he who will always crave the thrill to engage.

  4. As much as I wish Diaz and the rest of the Mets bullpen could have closed the door on the Nats, it’s so incredibly Mets of them that they took on Cano’s underwater contract and traded one of their best prospects just for the privilege of watching him blow leads this year.

  5. Because Mets Schadenfreude is my ambrosia, I watched over an hour of postgame coverage. The Mets have been carefully parceling out Diaz appearances to put him in lower leverage situations to try and get his confidence back and salvage something. But somehow they had forgotten that low leverage isn’t defined by your lead at the start of the inning, but by the situation you bring him into, and by the situation he’s in after he gives up a double to Zimmerman. And, as tfloyd pointed out in the last thread, Diaz’s fastball, as electric and well-placed as it was, is a poor fit for facing Suzuki. In his postgame interview (taking the translator’s word for it) Diaz took the blame, but also mentioned that he didn’t have time to properly warm up because he didn’t think he’d be “needed” with a six run lead. With the right definition of “need,” of course, he was absolutely required.

  6. Roger…another fine piece of work produced again under great duress, traffic this time.

    I thought you were a little hard on Folty perhaps. Far from his best certainly. But first we had an anonymous tipster start talking about heat exhaustion. And then we reminded ourselves that in sports as in life we tend to rise or fall to the level of the opposition.- marriage for example.

  7. Thank you, Roger, for the fast and thoughtful recap.

    Folty. Probably a good, decent young man. Don’t we need a bag of balls? Michael would look good in an Orioles uniform. I cannot watch when he pitches, and listening is almost as painful. How can a four-zip lead be so anxiety-filled?

    Forgive me, but:

    Go Mets!

    Rest ye merry, Braves. Prepare for the war for the East.

  8. @10 Yes, I realize I was hard on Folty considering the fact that he didn’t give up any runs. And when I took a closer look at the pitch count later, I realized he hadn’t gotten so high – didn’t have the perspective as I was trying to watch and write and do the typical home stuff. I assumed he had been taken out for pitch count, but he ended up with only 76. That being said, there were a gawdawful number of deep counts and I really do think a team like the Dodgers who specialize in walks and blasts would have eaten him alive (as they have nearly every time he faces them). Folty has given up 6 HRs and 12 BBs in four career starts against the Dodgers. I was looking for some indication he could find the strike zone.

    Looking for the same from Minter too……

    Tomlin has been OK against the Dodgers but he tends to give up solo HRs not multi-run shots. For the playoffs for middle relief, I’d take Tomlin over Folty at this point.

  9. Obviously based on my comments last night, I don’t think the criticism of Folty is unjustified. We’re 112 career starts into his career, and he’s being pulled after 5 innings and 76 pitches because of… heat exhaustion? He’s pitched for two major league teams, both in the south. Figure it out, dude. Grow up.

    I can’t say I wouldn’t want to sign up for the upcoming arb raise, and the potential for him to give us 160 innings of maybe 2 bWAR performance, but I think my expectations for him are beginning to dissipate. I waited longer than the “Folty to the bullpen” crowd of 2017, but I’m starting to lose hope.

    Of course, the last pitcher who waited too long to lose hope on is now a replacement level pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.

  10. They really need to work some magic via trades during the off-season. There’s plenty of pitching talent to trade from, and the team is going to have to decide where it wants to put its money. If they can retain Josh Donaldson, then they could concentrate on bolstering the rotation via trade. Assuming that’s not going to happen, it’ll be an interesting road the team is walking with money to spend and prospects to deal. The last thing we should expect to see are all of these prospects coming back next year to battle for spots. There’s just too much opportunity to try to improve the team.

    If the Braves can’t find a buyer on Folty, it should serve as a cautionary tale of waiting too long.

  11. @18 What’s the bad take? The Braves have negotiated with other teams (Texas, for one) about Folty.

    Whether they trade him or not is no skin off my back. I still believe in his potential to be a top of the rotation guy. Of course, if there’s a good trade on the table, I wouldn’t let his name in the deal stop me from doing the deal.

  12. Selling low on him is also a bad take. But not worse than giving up on him completely, as the majority of this community has done.

  13. So don’t sell low on him. He is one season removed from a 2.85 ERA and 180+ IP. If some potential buyer doesn’t see him as a possible 3.5 WAR starter, then don’t deal him to them.

    The problem is, of course, that he isn’t a reliable starter. He’s 27 years old and can’t be relied upon. You can trade him as what he is now, or you can wait and potentially not retain him. It’s coming one way or the other.

  14. Who’s selling low on him? It’s one thing to be critical, but I don’t see anyone who is saying to non-tender him or something.

    He’s definitely an enigma, so opinions on him are going to vary. But there’s no denying that he’s been an inconsistent pitcher for all but one season of his career. But this year, 10 of his 17 starts have a Game Score of 50 or lower, he’s pitched less than 6 IP in 10 starts, and he’s pitched 7 innings in only 1 start this year. It’s not unreasonable to say that due to the inconsistency he’s exhibited in his 112 career starts that he’s not going to be someone who’s going to perform like a TOR every year.

  15. Reasonable criticism is fine, warranted, etc. I’m just fighting back against the hyperbolic unreasonable stuff you see in pretty much every game thread. Head-case, mental-midget, terrible body-language, doesn’t care, will never figure it out, and on and on and on.

    He figured it out last year. And he’s looking like he’s solved the riddle lately. And it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with psychology. It’s pitch selection, pitching backwards against the scouting book on him, and stuff like that. “Adjustments”.

  16. But they messed up the baseball, and Folty just flew apart mentally and mechanically. While his WHIP continues to be high, his numbers since his return are much improved (3.31 ERA in 32 2/3 IP, 3-0 W/L). A big factor in that improvement has been his limiting of the home runs given up. In the first half, Folty surrendered 16 home runs in 59 1/3 IP as opposed to just 4 home runs in 32 2/3. There’s no question that it has improved.

    He’s still frustrating to watch, but much like Julio Teheran had to learn how to pitch and survive on less effective stuff, Folty is having to rely on making more pitches and limiting hitters to worse contact. Is that due to the change in baseballs? Probably. Have other good pitchers struggled? Yes, but in most cases good pitchers figured out how to work around those differences. Only a few became completely unusable the way that Folty did earlier in the season.

  17. Unfortunately, in today’s game, the Nats have the Mets right where they want them. The Mets lead 7-1 in the 7th.

    Edit— actually it’s the bottom of the 6th so the Mets bullpen still needs to get 11 more outs.

  18. So of course the Nats scored 3 in the bottom of the 6th to cut the lead in half. I wish the stock market was as predictable as the Mets bullpen.

  19. The Mets probably would have won last night had they not scored five in the top of the ninth, because if they hadn’t they’d have kept Seth Lugo in the game.

  20. @29 @30 The Mets have Seth Lugo who did not give up any runs last night (1.0 innings) and did not give up anything today (2.0 innings). If they had stuck with Lugo last night they would have won. Dang near any other pitcher is a disaster in their pen.

  21. I hate that today’s an off-day just like I hate any off-day, but I’m glad Washington lost, they have a lot less off-days, and the Braves got an off-day.

  22. Outside of the stupid off days to start the year, is this the first Wednesday off of the season?

    On Folty, I have to disagree on the criticism for being pulled for heat exhaustion. There are many things to criticize Folty for, but that’s not one of them. There are too many factors that go into that beyond his control and I’m sure the Braves were being overly cautious since Wilson had just been called up and was fresh. I just don’t see any issue. It happens.

  23. Gwinnett down 1 going to the 9th. T.Davidson laid an egg giving up 5 runs (4 earned) in 3 2/3 innings. Both Riley and Duvall have hit HRs and Phil Pfeifer threw 2 more innings of shutout baseball, giving up 1 hit and collected 1 K.

    Grant Dayton on now.

  24. It may be wishful thinking, but I get the feeling that the Nats reached their peak after last night’s crazy win. I just don’t see the month of September coming close to what they did in August.

    The Braves may drop off a little, but with their bullpen clicking on all cylinders and injured players coming back/ minor league reinforcements I don’t see a big fall.

  25. Got tickets to the game on Saturday! I’ll be at Terrapin Taproom early if anyone wants to come have a beer on me.

  26. I would hate to see the scorn Folty would get if he actually gave up a run…

    He was averaging 15 pitches per inning, very reasonable.

    Snit made the call to pull him.

  27. Bah, all you lazy recappers crowing about having off days. Come try recapping Friday games ya maroons!

  28. Not sure if this will come through right. But the DOB retweet on the sidebar is waaaaay too close to the Jon K classic from 2009 (comment 110 in the link below – I can’t get the direct link to work). Right?!?!? (it’s not just me…)

    Braves 6, Nats 2

    Hopefully the picture I took comes through, when the original tweet gets moved down…

  29. I will definitely concede that I’ve gotten pretty negative about Folty really quickly. It’s just one thing after another with him. Ineffective, winey appearance on the mound (I’m not questioning his mindset or motivations, it just looks winey), and then having to get pulled twice for heat exhaustion? For a guy that has a bracelet that says “don’t be a bitch”, that’s pretty ridiculous for him to be the only pitcher getting pulled for heat exhaustion. There’s something that’s keeping him from putting it together, and I don’t think it’s his fastball or his slider.

    Plus, we’re not having this conversation about any other pitcher. I’d like to think there are many, many reasonable people that think that Folty is a disappointment, and the suspicions are that it’s in his head. There’s a reason he’s the only guy that conversation is happening about.

  30. I’m headed to the game on Saturday! If any of you swash-bucklers want a Braves Journal t-shirt for a discount of $20 (the cost w/o the shipping), let me know (cothrjr at hotmail) and I’ll bring you one. The only caveat is you actually have to see my ugly face!

  31. I gotta tell ya, I’m not here trying to peddle the Braves Journal wares by any means. This was just something that Ryan and I felt was a cool thing for the people that have been reading Braves Journal for a long time. But I like the way the shirt fits. Good material. It’s in the rotation. I wouldn’t say it’s in the Soroka/Keuchel part of the rotation. It’s more of the Teheran section of the rotation.

  32. Alright, I got into a Twitter argument with Craig Calcaterra. IIRC, he’s a former Braves Journal guy, and I hate to go after former Braves Journal guys, but with him railing on Braves ownership in February for not doing enough, I think he’s got egg on his face. He doesn’t agree. Aaaapppparently, if you just tell people they’re wrong on the internet all day, they actually don’t just admit they’re wrong and change their opinion. Huh. If we ever actually realize this is truly the case, this internet thing is not going to take off.

    So new poll. Feel free to explain your reasoning.

  33. Can’t comment on the frustration as I was happy with the offseason (and my spring comments about the Braves being the only team in the division that had a chance at 100 wins is looking good).

    I suspect Folty has metabolic issues that make him more prone to heat exhaustion. what are the team doctrs doing about it should be the question.

  34. It is shocking to me that in addition to all his other failings poor Folty is now, by implication, being branded an alcoholic and thus unable to take to the mound in a sober condition. Winey thrown fastballs should terrify the hitter, not encourage him.

  35. Yikes, not only was I rightfully the butt of the joke, but I didn’t even get it. +2 for you, blazeman. Very well done.

  36. I get why Folty catches some heat, but I think the level of it might be a bit undeserved at times. The guy is capable of being a good pitcher. He has the stuff, and you can’t post a year like he had in ’18 by accident. He’s just got a bit of a mix between Smoltz and Carlos Zambrano to him. I think he just needs an offseason to get right, come back healthy in the Spring, with a clear mind, and let’s see what he is.

  37. I’ll never forget the correct spelling of “whiny” again.

    Does everyone just get 5 days rest with these off-days, or ought starts be skipped for any of the rotation members?

  38. 61- No off days until the 16th and then 2 the last week.

    I think who starts (and how much they pitch) the last week will all come down to where we are with the division.

  39. With a 7 game lead, no need to skip anyone. Let everyone get extra rest when there’s an off day. If the lead got small, though, perhaps shorten the rotation in the last week or two. Hopefully a moot point.

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