Atlanta 4, Gnats 3

Atlanta played with fire tonight, but somehow managed to dodge all the bullets as they won their 12th straight game at SunTrust Park, squeaking out a 4-3 victory over a Gnatspos team that was desperate for a win.

Dallas Keuchel got the start and it looked like it was going to be rough as he gave up lead off singles to Trea Turner and Howie Kendrick. Turner was forced at third on an Anthony Rendon grounder, but Keuchel loaded the bases by walking Juan Soto. But, he induced Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a double play and the Braves had escaped without giving up a run.

Patrick Corbin took the hill for the Natinals and he also had a little trouble in the first, with Ozzie Albies doubling with one out and then Josh Donaldson walked with two down, but Adam Duvall struck out and it was 0-0 headed into the second.

Keuchel settled down and worked a 1-2-3 2nd, and Atlanta followed that up with the first of multiple questionable baserunning adventures. Dansby Swanson led off with a walk, and with one out Tyler Flowers also drew a free pass. But with an opportunity for Keuchel to bunt them over, Swanson got picked off and was tagged out, squelching that rally.

In the third Keuchel continued his good work, only giving up a one out single to Dark Lord 2: Electric Bugaloo – Trea Turner. Ozzie then gave the Braves the lead in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot, his 20th. 1-0 Atlanta.

Dallas continued his good work in the 4th, working a clean frame, and Atlanta tacked on a run. Duvall doubled to lead off and Dansby’s groundball was booted by Rendon, which allowed Duvall to reach third. After Austin Riley popped out, TFlo hit a sac fly for the 2-0 lead.

Washington mounted a threat in the 5th, with singles by Yan Gomes and Michael Taylor to lead off the 5th. But Corbin struck out trying to sacrifice, and Turner and Kendrick weren’t able to advance the runners.

Corbin got himself into some two out trouble in the bottom of the 5th, walking Freddie Freeman, Donaldson, and Duvall, but rallied to strike out Swanson to end the threat. Not to be outdone by Corbin, After walking Rendon to lead off the 6th, Keuchel wandered into some two out issues of his own, allowing a Victor Robles single to put runners on the corners, but induced Gomes to ground out.

Atlanta’s baserunning issues came to a head in the bottom of the frame. With one out Flowers was hit by a pitch and Matt Joyce hit an infield single as he hit for Keuchel. Ronald Acuna Jr singled and Ron Washington sent Flowers. That turned out to be a mistake as Flowers was thrown out for the second out. Snit sent Billy Hamilton in to pinch run (a batter too late) and he decided that whatever Swanson could do, he could as well, and he got picked off second.

Chris Martin pitched a clean top of the 7th, making it look easy. In the bottom of the frame a one out single by FabFive Freddie was followed by a Scattered Shower as the Bringer of Rain made it 4-0. Sean Newcomb came in and looked utterly dominant in the top of the 8th.

Unfortunately, he didn’t start the inning. Luke Jackson did, and he gave up back to back singles to Kendrick and Rendon. After getting Soto to swing on a 3-2 pitch that would’ve been Ball 4, Sliderman ran the count full to Zimmerman and then hung a slider that Zimmerman drilled deep to left. That allowed us discerning critics to decide which team’s home run celebration is better – the stupid Washington Conga Line Dance Party or the imiginative Dugout Umbrella Stroll of JD. After a thoroughly scientific polling process (which consisted solely of my asking Seat Painter, Jr. what he thought), I am ready to declare that the Gnatspos are tired posers and the Braves are clever innovators.

Anyway, with the lead cut to 4-3 by Zimmerman, and Newcomb coming in to strike out Robles and get Gomes to ground out, Atlanta couldn’t muster any offense in the bottom of the frame. With Mark Melancon having tossed close to 30 pitches last night, Snit turned to Shane Greene. An eight pitch at bat by Matt Adams made everyone as nervous a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but Adams struck out on the 4th 2-2 pitch. Greene then struck out Gerardo Parra, and with two down Turner squibbed one to the mound that Greene flipped to first for the final out.

Phew.

Anyway, the Braves have guaranteed that the Gnats will not gain any ground on them this series and trimmed the Magic Number to 13. Julio Teheran takes the hill tomorrow as the Braves look to really drive a stake through the Gnats’ hearts.

71 thoughts on “Atlanta 4, Gnats 3”

  1. Yeah, my immediate post-game recaps tend to run toward the Joe Friday ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am’ style.

  2. Obviously Dallas Keuchel‘s stats aren’t all that impressive but he has been delivering the end product. By far a much better signing than Kimbrel would be. Again, in AA i trust!!!

  3. Pride demanded Dansby follow as bad an error as he’s likely ever made with perhaps his very best play a few innings later. It drew a loud gasp from the crowd. It was an electric September moment.

    Dallas K, what can you say? As different as they are he is now as entitled as Max to be considered to start any must win playoff game. He loves it too, you saw him giggling like a kid when it was over. I like to think he has never been happier than he is here.

    We are beginning to see a little too much of Billy Hamilton. Steady the buffs.

  4. @6 correction…

    for September read staccato. The ball was hit so hard,and loudly. Noise played a large role in the raw excitement of the play.

  5. Dansby’s struggling. He hit .270/.330/.493 in the first half (.822 OPS). .192/.298/.233 (.530 OPS) in the second half, pre- and post-injury. I’m sure he’ll get it going in time.

  6. Thank you, Seat Painter. Once again, you nailed the recap.

    I too trust in AA, kc. So far he’s getting the job done. Winning on the field still trumps winning the pundits’ accolades.

    Win today and it’s giggles all around.

  7. @10. Seriously, the Braves only won 72 games just back in 2017 and we are in position to win our back-to-back division title. AA is awesome, I am so happy for Snit. Ozzie and Fried are slowly becoming my most favorite players on this team, which is amazing considering how much I like Soroka, Freeman, Acuna and Donaldson. This team is so fun to watch.

  8. @5 To be fair, the Cubs might’ve rushed Kimbrel into action this season. Had he signed in Atlanta, the results might’ve been different. Had he been signed in the offseason prior, I feel they surely would’ve been different. I don’t think Kimbrel is “done” by any measure. I think he’s had some tough luck, followed by a trip into free agency at the worst possible time for him. His camp has to shoulder some of the blame for that, for trying to procure a record breaking contract. You have to adjust to the market. I’ll never be convinced he would’ve been a bad sign, though.

    Ideally the Braves would’ve signed Keuchel and Kimbrel. If it was one of the other, I concede they may have made the correct call though, as your starters need to be able to hand a lead to the closer for the closer to close.

  9. @4 It’s funny, but as great as securing home field and the best record in the NL might be, I almost want the Braves to finish 2nd in the NL. Here’s why…

    -The Nationals scare me in a short series with that staff. If one of their aces get hot, it might be a tough go.

    -The Braves aren’t markedly better at home than they are on the road.

    -The Cardinals however are decidedly worse on the road, sitting below .500 on the year at 33-36 away from home. Same goes for the Cubs, who have an even more pronounced split, with a 29-40 mark on the road.

  10. Great recap, SP. Thanks. This most recent streak including the last two against the gNats is unbelievable and so fun to watch. Last year the Braves put away the division with two six game winning streaks close together, the second of which was against the primary rival – the Phillies. This year we are putting the division away with two EIGHT game winning streaks back-to-back, the second of which includes our primary rival. And the gNats are a much better team than the Phillies last year and have been on their own roll whereas, last year the Phillies were already fading.

    And we’re now 3.5 games back of the Dodgers for home field advantage. Homefield could be huge as the Braves are the best road team in the league while the Dodgers are barely mediocre on the road but are nearly perfect at home.

    Plus the Cardinals are looking kinda scary. Who would you rather face – the gNats/Cubs or the Cards? For a while, when the Cubs were ahead, I thought that second place in the NL might be better, but I’d rather let the Cards have the first shot at the Dodgers.

  11. @13 Except the Cards are hot and we just beat two of the gNats top three. And the Dodgers are not a great road team either. I’d rather see a team like the gNats that we’ve beaten recently than a Cards team who is not the same team we beat months ago.

    The Muncy injury is a big deal – he is the Braves killer. The Dodgers have been slightly better than average without him. If he comes back looking like Austin Riley then the Dodgers are beatable, especially with Ryu also fading.

  12. When is Muncy expected back?

    I think either of the more optimistic results are good for the Braves (first or second best record, and winning the division). Avoiding the Nats in the first round is a-ok by me, their rotation is fantastic and I’m not a masochist. But home field advantage throughout the playoffs is a huge plus.

    I don’t think there’s an easy path once you’re in the playoffs, so if we end up securing the best record, I won’t complain about a tougher first round opponent. You’ve got to earn it either way, and we’ve got to prove we can win even just one playoff series.

  13. I like how everyone just assumes the Nationals will be the opponent, even though the Cubs (or whoever) might very well beat them in the one-game wild card and bounce them out entirely.

  14. @15 Muncy is set to return next week, though. He’s a scary dude in that batters box when a Brave is on the bump. I also don’t love the Braves lack of lefties in the pen to match against Bellinger, Seager and Pederson.

    I say let the gNats and Dodgers fight it out, and one takes the other out of the equation. Then the Braves just have to go through the winner.

    The Cards just don’t seem as imposing to me, outside of having to potentially face Flaherty twice.

  15. I’m not sure Riley can hit big league pitching. Then again, I have my doubts as to whether Dansby can either.

  16. @32 I saw that yesterday! Absolutely incredible, I’m really happy they produced that video to highlight her work.

  17. Coop, you may be right about Riley, but I prefer to believe you’re as wrong about him as you are about Swanson. :)

    (BTW, I know Dansby is scuffling, but he is the shortstop on this team in October. He ought to be getting as many AB’s as possible before the playoffs).

  18. “Trea” Turner looks like he would only be good at playing video games, not professional baseball.

    What a pesky flea.

  19. I wish they would have given O’Day more of a chance to settle in. Sure would of been better than Newk tonight. But, again, how many times has Tomlin saved our bacon??? Mainly because he comes in and THROWS…. STRIKES…. If you want someone on your playoff roster that will come in during your most desperate moments and bring back some appearance of sanity, Tomlin seems to be your guy.

  20. If he can’t make that catch we have no time for Billy.

    Acuna’s bat is S-L-O-W. Am i right?

    Here we go to the 9th.

  21. Ever since going 2 – 4, and hitting his 37th homer and stealing his 34th base on Thursday, Acuna hasn’t done much of anything.

  22. Well, we had our ‘bad bullpen’ night and still won, thanks to our closer.

    However, we must not deny the baseball gods were very much with us. In a sense though we deserved them, we played with such spirit.

    coop…baseball my friend, what else.

  23. @65

    Rusty

    we get your point but…

    aren’t you tormented by so many of his at bats which produce no real contact? Either he looks at them or he whiffs.

    greedy, that’s us!

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