Apollo Creed 1, Rocky 4

Can we get the regular season over with?  Yes, the Braves could still technically catch the Dodgers, Houston or the Yankees for home field advantage, but I’m reasonably sure none of those is going to happen.  If Minnesota makes it to the World Series along with the Braves, home field advantage is currently up for grabs: 93 wins each, with the Braves holding the tiebreaker.  (Oakland could possibly catch us as well, or even Tampa Bay at the outside.)  It would be highly amusing to me if the Braves ended up losing home field advantage to the Twins when Chip was blathering on about how important it would be for the Twins to beat a rapidly fading Nationals team last week.  It’s already amusing enough that the Braves-Minnesota site decision is in the hands of the Kansas City Royals. Nine of their ten remaining games are against the Twins (7) and the Braves (2).  So, Chip: Braves fans are huge Royals fans for the rest of the season, except for a couple of days next week.

But I don’t really care much about home field advantage as longtime Braves Journal readers might remember (Ignore the first two posts… They are misfiled.  And you have to read them in chronological order to make sense of them.)  Baseball has the lowest home field advantage of any sport, and often what is thought of as a home field advantage is actually just the residue of better teams getting the home field.  Nonetheless, though small, the home field advantage does exist so I wouldn’t want to squander it needlessly – particularly if we actually faced a 1991 rematch, one of the three World Series in which the home team won every game.  Wouldn’t fairness dictate that we get the home field advantage in the rematch, records be damned?

Some might think I’m getting ahead of myself for a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001.  Screw that.  But if we were to somehow lose to the Cardinals or whomever, at least no one will blame the home field disadvantage.

With that in mind, the recap will be mercifully brief.  (Not merciful enough, I hear a few of you say.)  Julio pitched pretty well, but Harper and Hernandez hit homers (for 3 runs) and a catcher’s interference eventually scored on a Jackson Grybo bases-loaded walk.  Everyone else pitched well, including, for his second straight appearance, Kyle Wright.  But that’s four runs.

On offense, the Braves scratched a run across in the 2nd on a McCann grounder that was hit too poorly to be a DP.  McCann followed that up with two subsequent double plays and then struck out in the 9th.  4 at bats, 6 outs.  Ouch. When you only get 27 outs, you can’t be responsible for 22 percent of them. Leave some for the rest of the guys. Right now McCann looks like the nostalgia pick so many of us feared.  He can break out, of course, but if he can’t do so pretty quickly it’s not clear what he brings beyond “leadership.”  And Tyler, I think, is worse.  I don’t know if anyone has ever caught a game after making under 10 regular season starts for a team,  but sentiment aside, if he’s ready, I’m on Cervelli.   

Chip Watch: Cancelled this evening: I watched Boog, Sutcliffe and Special Guest Larry Wayne Jones, Jr.  I’m not sure I could listen to Chipper more than once a month, but boy does he know a lot about hitting.

One more with the Phillies tomorrow as we are, to paraphrase William Butler Yeats, a rough beast that slouches towards the playoffs. But don’t worry. We’ll get there.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

52 thoughts on “Apollo Creed 1, Rocky 4”

  1. McCann is just not very good after July. That’s been the case for a long time now. And he’s atrocious in the post season.

  2. It looks like we peaked a few days ago. It was bound to happen. Hopefully we can start a new streak about playoff time. To me, stats over the next week and a half should be treated like spring training stats.

  3. Jonathan F
    to your essential entreaties we are not deaf
    the center can hold
    lead our charge, (after the recap!), be so bold!

    Thank you.

  4. today

    High Noon

    If a sixteen year old girl can solo sail the Atlantic and have Congress eating out of her hand…

    then we can win the National League East…

    in our own very good time.

  5. Braves had a chance to keep both Flowers and McCann fresh by carrying 3 catchers and utilizing the Gwinnett shuffle to allow them to carry only 7 bullpen guys. That didn’t happen and they’re paying the price on McCann for sure.

    I’m a frustrated Braves fan at the moment, and it may or may not be warranted, but this team looks exhausted and the plan before the beginning was to give rest. Injuries and lack of performance likely deterred that plan, but it’s really showing up in September…again. Also, I’m not sure with Snitker at the helm that the plan would’ve ever actually been implemented as he’s as old school as it gets when filling out the lineup. He wants his regulars.

    Edit: And after I hit submit on this, I look at the lineup and Donaldson, Dansby, and Joyce getting a breather. Riley starting at 3B.

  6. Flowers could well be tired (how could you tell? he looks the same either way) , but McCann actually got 2 weeks off in August and has only caught 7 full games in September. He could still be tired, I guess, but I don’t see how he could get any more time off, if that’s the problem.

    That does suggest a solution: simply have Flowers catch every game for the rest of the year and send McCann to a spa until the playoffs. Cervelli and McCann would work the playoffs right after they attended Flowers’ funeral.

  7. Our catchers are just old. Hopefully Dansby will remember how to hit in the next couple weeks. With a lineup of Catcher/Dansby/Pitcher we’re only playing offense for 6 of the 9 innings currently.

  8. Until his injury, McCann had started 67 games (85 start pace), which, in my opinion, should’ve been about his full season workload. In an ideal scenario, which the Braves could’ve totally done, McCann and Flowers would be a tandem for about 135-140 games/year, and AJax get his feet wet with 20-25 starts.

    In 2017, with the Astros, he caught 95 games for the year.

    In 2018, a year chock full of injury, he caught 62 games.

    I wanted to avoid those injuries by decreasing both catcher’s workloads. My opinion isn’t hindsighted either as I was on the 3 catcher train from the beginning as I thought it could be beneficial on 2 points:

    1. Keeping 2 veteran catchers healthy by allowing them 70ish games behind the dish.
    2. AJax gets to pick the brains of 2 catchers both elite at a particular aspect of their game.

  9. I saw DOB tweet that this was our first 3-game losing streak in two months. Kind of insane the run we’ve been on; you’d think we’d be pretty logically overdue for a little skid. Esp. with all of the random Ortega/Hechavarria/et al. savior-moments it feels like we’ve had recently. It might well be fatigue, and agreed re: Dansby needing to find a groove, but we’ve still got time to get hot again before the playoffs.

  10. I think the Cervelli acquisition was about getting Flowers and McCann rest down the stretch, but the real problem on this team is that rest needs to happen throughout the year.

    Other teams built like the Braves (Cubs, Dodgers) with riches in depth, have 1 player each that have eclipsed 600 plate appearances. The Braves have 4.

  11. My frustration with everyone always blaming lack of rest for everything has been established at this point, I think, but yeah…not everything is because of lack of rest. And even if it is, like, we’re about to play only five games in 10 days from Monday to the start of the NLDS on the following Thursday, so I’m really not seeing an issue.

    If we lose Game 1 of the NLDS (and ridiculously, we haven’t won Game 1 of a playoff series since sweeping the Astros in the 2001 NLDS BTW…that’s either eight or nine straight Game 1 losses, depending on if you count the wild card game debacle or not), I look forward (but not really) to everyone suddenly wringing their hands about how we had too much time off.

  12. @14

    Yes, as originally conceived. But as soon as he set foot upon our stage it was obvious he was at a level removed above our pair. Thus the angst now, will he get back to that? In time.

  13. The rest vs rust argument comes in when teams start resting their regulars a lot at the end of September when they’ve already clinched the playoffs. I don’t believe this type of rest is very beneficial for players, rather its the 10ish-12ish games/year spread out during the 162.

    But admittedly, I’m just a keyboard manager.

  14. Cervelli needed stitches after getting cut last week. Waiting for it to heal. Could be ready to go late next week.

  15. Well, the other thing is that all the players we were worried about as far as playing too much all suffered injuries and wound up getting rest anyway. Markakis was overworked for the first 70 percent of the season, I would agree, but he just had two months off, so it’s probably not an issue now. Same with Dansby and McCann.

    The folks who have basically played every day were always going to play every day. Freeman and Acuna aren’t taking 10-12 games off spread out over the course of the year. You may like for them to, but they’re not going to, and they never were. I guess you could argue Donaldson, but since about June, I think he’s pretty much proved he’s past his injury issues and is also in this everyday cohort.

    The people for whom rest was an issue largely got their rest anyway.

  16. Is it that rest throughout the year is that beneficial to performance, or is it that players are rested in order to avoid more serious injuries during the year? In the post-PED era, players generally miss more time during the season due to nagging injuries, but in past decades it wasn’t uncommon at all for players to appear in 150+ games provided they were healhty.

    Our guys have been healthy, therefore they’ve appeared in most of the games. I don’t care what the Dodgers do. They do what they think they need to do to avoid injuries because the PEDs are gone. 21 year old players ought to be able to play in 160 games. Some players probably should have gotten a day of rest earlier in the year, but we weren’t riding a division lead all season long, so…

  17. @Donny

    I won’t deny Freddie Freeman in regards to this. He plays 1B and fielding isn’t that much work on the legs. I would argue that Acuna and Albies could use 5-10 games off their feet per year.

  18. That was a pretty dumb move by Kapler pitching to Freddie there. When you need every win you can get, moves like that will get you eliminated pretty quick.

  19. Magic number down to one!

    Technically, that means that we’ve clinched at least a tie for the division, but let’s not even go there (ignoring the fact that I kinda just did).

  20. Thanks guys for pulling them through.

    I looked at gamecast for the top of 9. Not the first time I have noticed this. Melancon’s command seems Maddox like. It is either just barely a strike or just barely a ball. No big misses out of zone. No meatballs in the center. Everything gravitates to the red line of the “box.”

  21. So with the gNats having today off, that means a potential Friday clinch. Sounds like a lot of pressure on the recapper. I hope he or she is up to the task.

    Edit: Yup, 1 more win or Cards loss clinches home field in the Divisional Series.

  22. So, for the 14 game stretch just concluded, we went 8-6 against our two closest pursuers in the division, including 5-2 against the second place team.

    We also beat Strasberg, Corbin, Scherzer, and Nola (twice) during this stretch.

    That’s the way to lock up the title.

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