Phils 9, Braves 5

On our recent run, the improved bullpen play has been the talk, but the starting pitching has also been on a strong run of its own. In August, starter ERA was 7th in MLB with their WAR 4th. So with a couple clunker performances over the last few days which have led to the Phillies taking his series, it’s important to remember that the Braves’ starting pitching is a key component to a postseason run.

Before last night, Julio had been on a run. In his previous 13 starts, he had a 2.50 ERA in 72 IP. But he continues to lead the league in walks, so it’s not hard to see that when he’s missing spots a little more than usual, he gets lit up. So he gave up 3 home runs in the first 3 innings of last night’s game, and that gave the Braves a big hole.

But after that gap was beginning to close, Anthony Swarzak created another. Swarzak was a savior when the bullpen was a dumpster fire in mid-May. He gave us 21.1 IP while giving up only one earned run until July 21st. But since then, the shine has worn off: 12.1 IP, 14 ER, 9.95 ERA. Opponents are producing a 1.126 OPS against him. In fact, the shine has worn off so much, it may just be dull. He’s now becoming a likely candidate to be left off the NLDS roster. It won’t be the first time; after getting largely good seasons out of Jesse Biddle, Dan Winkler, Sam Freeman, and Shane Carle last year, they all faded down the stretch and found themselves left off the NLDS roster. That’s showbiz, baby.

Happy Nick Markakis Return Day! You may not be excited about Nick Markakis returning to the Braves, and I don’t blame you, but it will signal the end of the Rafael Ortega era. Since his grand slam against the Dodgers, he has hit .167/.254/.183 in 67 PAs, including 1 for his last 24. It’s time to go. He made some coin. Wish him well.

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18 thoughts on “Phils 9, Braves 5”

  1. Yeah, Nick Markakis isn’t exciting except in comparison. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye to Rafael Ortega. Thanks for the grand slam and good luck in all your future business endeavors, and please don’t let the door hit you on your shuttle back to Gwinnett.

  2. It did seem like a list series though. I hate losing to the Phillies. I also hate losing to the Bureaucrats.

    Go Braves.

    Thanks,Rob.

  3. Braves are in a tough position as far as left-handed relievers are concerned. Newcomb has been rough since bottoming out his ERA on 6/29 at 1.93 (5.25 since), and Blevins should ONLY see LHHs in the postseason. Dayton should get a real look and in the piece I put up a week back, I always thought the 3rd lefty in the pen was his to lose. Pfeifer could still get a look as I cannot imagine Ortega will keep his 40-man spot when Kakes comes back.

    Duvall is pushing his way back into the thought process of Anthopoulos with really good ABs against LHP (and is now up to a 1.303 OPS on the year against them). I still think the Braves will run with a 6-man bench and right now I’m leaning toward Hamilton, Duvall, Culberson, Camargo, Joyce, McCann/TFlow.

  4. I argued with Roger the other day that I thought Ender and Hamilton could co-exist on a postseason roster. I still think that’s true, however Hamilton has done himself no favors by getting picked off twice in the last few games and Duvall is pushing to a postseason roster bid.

    Right now, I feel Roger has got a point. Time will tell.

  5. Well, it’s back to Chip tonight.

    Although, if you’re still looking for an alternative (and for you folks in the Nats viewing area looking to avoid the execrable Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo), tonight’s game is apparently available on YouTube. It’s not YouTube-exclusive like the game a couple weeks ago, it’s just available on YouTube as well as the normal regional broadcasters.

    I thought the YouTube broadcast a couple weeks ago was pretty bad, though, so I’ll probably just throw my hands in the air and go with Chip and Jeff.

  6. After some deliberation, here is my attempt to assign super heroes to some of our starters. I ran out of steam before I got to the bench/bullpen so if anyone wants to tackle those, go for it. I stuck to the Marvel universe for reasons.

    Freddy Freeman – Captain America – Because Cap is a natural leader but he tends to lead more by example. He is wholesome and all American. When you need someone strong who will give everything they have, he is your guy.

    Josh Donaldson – Thor – Bringer of rain = God of Thunder? Plus he swings a mean hammer.

    Ozzie Albies – Spiderman – He’s not big but much stronger than he looks. He’s very agile and quick. And he’s a bit of a smart-ass always joking and talking smack.

    Dansby Swanson – Gambit – He’s a ladies man and has the hair. Makes strong and accurate throws and can put a charge in things.

    Tyler Flowers – Luke Cage – Impenetrable skin. One tough, strong dude who you want on your side in a fight.

    Brian McCann – Beast – On the surface just appears to be a big strong guy but his real asset is his intellect. An older guy but still plenty strong when you need it.

    Julio Tehran – Dare Devil – Lost his sight (fast ball) and now has to rely on improved other senses (pitches) to achieve incredible things.

    Nick Markakis – Iron Man – He’s one of the oldest heroes but still quite capable. Also has good leadership qualities. And since Kakes never gets days off, of course he would have to be “Iron Man”

    Ronald Acuna – Black Panther – Strong, agile, fast and if you hit him he takes the force of that blows and returns it plus some (ala home runs after being brushed back).

    Johan Camargo – I was originally thinking Sue Storm a.k.a. The Invisible Girl but I decided that was a bit cruel. Instead how about Falcon… really more of a side kick trying to be a hero. Nothing particularly special about him but he knows how to use the tools he has to greatest effect.

    Austin Riley – Bucky Barnes – Side kick to Captain America but eventually replaces Cap as he grows as a hero.

    Ender Enciarte – Night Crawler – BAMF! He just shows up where the ball is going to land. BAMF! He just shows up on 2nd base on the steal attempt. Not particularly strong but definitely quick and agile.

    Folty – Johnny Storm a.k.a. Human Torch – Throws fireballs and wears his emotions on his sleeve. Sometimes called hot head by Spiderman.

    Fried – Hawkeye – Always hits his target (this might have to be revisited).

    Soroka – Ice Man – He’s from the frozen north and he keeps his emotions in check while throwing slippery sliders and freezing batters with his curve.

    Keuchel – Dr Strange – Master of the lost mystic arts (being able to pitch to contact without being a 97+ hard throwing pitcher).

  7. Great post, Hap. Really good. Thanks.

    A nice complimentary piece might be some of our opponents as the bad guys. Just for fun.

    Have you noticed that Ozzie’s LH batter’s stance looks almost like a Spiderman pose???

  8. Tough luck for Camargo. He was finally hitting well.

    This and Riley being awful lately ensure that Markakis will play everyday, likely with a Joyce/Duvall platoon in the other corner until Inciarte returns.

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