Atlanta 5, Gnatspos 0

IF, and it’s almost unnecessary to say that is a huge IF, Washington had any realistic chance to win the division (Hint: They Don’t), then they were going to have to sweep the Braves in the last series between the teams this year. But last night, Atlanta sent out Mike Soroka to duel Max Scherzer and The Maple Maddux said, “Aboot that sweep, eh?”

(No Canadians were harmed in the construction of that last sentence.)

Both starters kept the opposition off the board through 3. The difference was that the Braves were working deeper counts on Mad Max while Mad Mike was being a bit more efficient (although he was helped by a Ryan Zimmerman GIDP in the 2nd after issuing lead off walks to Juan Soto and Asdrubel Cabrera).

Atlanta got the scoring started in the top of the 4th. With one out Nick Markakis announced his return with authority by doubling. (He had singled in the 2nd, but that was more of a throat clearing announcement.) Matt Joyce then singled him in for the first run. With two down Dansby Swanson doubled deep to right to score Joyce and it was 2-0.

After the top of the 4th Freddie Freeman was removed when he aggravated his elbow diving for a grounder in the bottom of the 3rd. After the game FabFive Freddie was quoted as saying, “”I’ve had it. I’ve felt it. I’ve played through it. Just today it was kind of a little bit more than I expected. Now it’s calmed completely down so I’m hoping that I’ll wake up and be able to play tomorrow.” So turn the DefCon Level back down to 5, as it seems this is just a minor day to day issue at worst. (Hat tip to the 1980’s movie ‘Wargames’.)

The Braves added a run against Scherzer in the 5th, when Ronald Acuna Jr and Ozzie Albies led off with singles. Charlie Culberson (who replaced Freeman) attempted to sacrifice them to 2nd and 3rd, but popped up the bunt. None of the Gnats fielders could quite reach it, and it fell in front of Anthony Rendon, who forced Ozzie at second. Josh Donaldson worked a walk to load ’em up, and Markakis had what may have been his best swing of the evening, driving Victor Robles back to the wall in left center for a sac fly to score RAJ. (Not a high Can ‘o Corn fly, more of a Get On Your Horse And Get There Line Drive). Scherzer was done after the 5th, having tossed 99 pitches. Any team that can force a pitcher to average 20 tosses an inning is a very good offensive team. (Citation needed.)

Soroka finished up his evening with two 1-2-3 frames in the 5th and 6th. He tossed 94 over his six innings of work, surrendering only a 2nd inning double to Adam Eaton and 3 walks (two to Soto) against 4 punchouts. That will play in any league (especially the National).

Ozzie led off the 7th with his 23rd homer of the season to push the lead to 4-0. Chris Martin came in to pitch the bottom of the frame, and the Coldplay frontman and former Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow wasn’t as Immaculate as he was earlier in the week, but he did work a clean frame with two fly outs and a grounder.

Atlanta finished up the scoring in the top of the 8th, with Joyce leading off with a single and advancing to second on a slow roller by Tyler Flowers. Swanson worked a walk, and Rafael Ortega doubled Joyce home. (“Hey! Hey! Remember him? You know Grand Slam Man?)

Shane Greene gave up a lead off double in the 8th to Victor Robles but got three grounders to strand him at third, and with a 5 run lead Snit gave the task of finishing the game to Jerry Blevins, who tossed an Atlanta Clean Inning, with just a two out double to Soto.

Noticeably absent from this recap? Trea Turner. Mr. Dark Lord 2: Electric Bugaloo went 0-4 and Anthony Rendon, who also collected the collar at 0-4 and ended a 27 game on base streak. When you can keep those two held down, you’ve got a great chance to beat the Gnats.

Anyway, the magic number is down to 6, and Atlanta sends Mike Foltynewicz to the hill tonight against Austin Voth. Sounds like a good night to trim the number to 4.

88 thoughts on “Atlanta 5, Gnatspos 0”

  1. Thanks for the recap, Seat Painter.
    Despite playing it down, I’m concerned about Freddies elbow. Please let him rest today. We need a healthy FF in October.

  2. It seems like bone spurs tend to flair up periodically and it’s not something that shutting him down helps. I seem to remember Chipper having bone spurs too.

  3. Excellent recap, SP. Although I think that single by Kakes was less a throat clearing and closer to a MadMax head clearing line drive.

    That was some performance by Nick. He almost had a chance to make a third super catch but couldn’t quite get there.

    I know it’s hyperbole but I think that was the closest the Braves have been to their June hitting selves since Nick went out. Joyce has been great in that slot but adding Nick to Joyce seemed to bring the whole team alive.

    Anyone think Nick may be a better defensive LF than RF at this point? He tracked down balls on the track, in the corner, in front of him – he was all over the place. I wonder if Nick was annoyed at Ronald sliding underneath him. I think Ronald thought Nick wouldn’t be able to get to the ball.

    If we could somehow get Riley’s strike zone and pitch recognition acumen up so that he can make good contact again, we could have a deadly platoon with Nick/Joyce and Duvall/Riley.

  4. I love Nick in LF. He should have been there earlier. I think they’ve played this right.

    I don’t care; I love Nick. I think every team needs a Neck. He’s our Jeff Blauser, Mark Lemke, etc., except we only really have one guy like Nick/Blauser/Lemke who is an average-at-best player who has some strong intangibles. I wouldn’t want to have any more than one Nick. You can make the case that McCann was signed as a Blauser/Lemke type, overperformed it for a little while, and as it back to being that type, though.

  5. @1 As good as Baez turned out to be, I like the deal Atlanta did. Tough to imagine the Cubs giving up much more than Baez for Miller straight up, unless Atlanta just wanted some type of “lotto ticket” type of prospect.

  6. When Braves pitchers throw a ball after getting ahead with 2 strikes, Chip Caray’s tone works every nerve in my body, like it’s the biggest travesty since Skittles changed their green flavor from lime to green apple.

  7. Did Chip say that Nick had his first RBI since returning from the IL after that single? I only saw the highlight and it cut it off.

  8. The primary reason Billy Hamilton is on the roster is to pinch run for the catchers, by far the slowest of whom is BMac. Wouldn’t you put him in here?

  9. @27 and 28–here’s Hamilton running for BMac.
    Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.

  10. Horrible call by umps. Just amazingly horrible. How could they do something like that???

    If we lose this game, the Braves should appeal. OMG, what a terrible sequence.

  11. Umpires are saying Charlie went, that he didn’t pull his bat back. So they’re calling it a strike.

    BS call. Absolutely horrible call.

  12. Wife thinks that the swelling is a result of an orbital break, which would be right around the eye socket. She’s, like, all nurse practitioner smart and stuff.

  13. Ronald!! He always makes the opposition pay for mistakes like that. Love him at 2nd, too. He obviously wanted that badly.

  14. @48 It may have broken his nose, too. That’s what the towel and the long wait to sit upright was about.

  15. @66 That’s because you are only watching Blevins against lefties. Newk has no split so he’s good for a whole inning. coop’s right, Newk is our best lefty.

  16. @70 Blevins’ OPS against for LH is .517 and RH is .849. That’s a huge split. And it is why his ERA is high. Any time he’s been left in to pitch to righties, he’s sucked.

    Newk may walk a few but no one really hits him.

  17. 73 — I don’t know how to check splits since the beginning of August, but perhaps Newcomb should be used the same way down the stretch and in the playoffs. He has an ERA over 5 and a terrible walk rate.

  18. @76 In the last 30 days, Newk’s ERA is 4.09 and batters are hitting .135 against him even though he’s given up 9 walks in 11 innings (and 3 HRs). That would go back to mid-Aug. No other Braves pitcher has a better AVG against in the last 30 days.

  19. 81 — Honestly those peripherals don’t make me feel any better about him. I want him to be better, but his control has relapsed from earlier this season.

  20. The line of the game…

    2nd base…top 7th…

    Cabrera to BMac, gripping his shirt as, finally, Billy Hamilton comes into view…

    ‘No. You’re not leaving. We need you to stay here.’

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