Atlanta 3, St. Louis 0

Mike Foltynewicz tossed seven innings of 3 hit shutout baseball and Adam Duvall had a clutch pinch hit home run as Atlanta evened up the NLDS at 1 game apiece.

Folty was dominant, and he needed every bit of it as his mound opponent was Jack Flaherty, who was merely the best pitcher in the NL for the second half of the season. As with yesterday’s game the Braves scored in the bottom of the first. Ozzie Albies singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, went to third on Freddie Freeman‘s grounder to second, and scored on a two out single by Josh Donaldson. Somewhere in Mudville Joe Simpson has a big old grin on his mug.

The score stayed there for the next six innings, as Flaherty and Folty took turns tossing zeros up on the scoreboard. The Braves threatened in the 4th, when Nick Markakis and Matt Joyce singled to start the frame, with Nick taking third on the hit. But Brian McCann popped out and on a 3-2 count to Dansby Swanson, Snit started Joyce. Swanson whiffed and Markakis strayed a bit too far off third during the rundown, and Kolten Wong nailed him trying to get back to the bag for just your usual ho-hum 2-4-5 inning ending strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play.

That move didn’t work out for Snit, but the next one he made most certainly did. In the bottom of the 7th, BMac singled with one down. After Dansby struck out, Adam Duvall pinch hit for Folty. At that point Mike had only thrown 83 pitches in the game and the bottom of the Cardinals line up was due, so it was certainly defensible to let Folty hit and pitch the 8th. But Snitker had Max Fried warming up, so he gambled on Duvall. Adam swung at the first pitch, a slider out of the zone, then took three balls. On 3-1 he swung over a nasty slider to run the count full. He fouled off a 3-2 slider then launched a 3-2 fastball that tailed back over the plate deep into left center for the 2 run dinger.

Fried was again tough in the 8th. He struck out Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader, mixing a 77 mph curveball with 98 mph heat. A two out pinch hit single by Jose Martinez was his only blemish, as he induced a soft line drive from Dexter Fowler to Ronald Acuna Jr. to end the frame.

So, Brian Snitker had made two questionable decisions so far in the game and was 1-1. He made his third by going to Mark Melancon to handle the 9th, one day after giving up the lead and game in Gm 1 and tossing 28 excruciating pitches in the process. Mark got Tommy Edman to ground into a 3-1 force to start the frame. But St. Louis mounted its only credible scoring threat next, as Paul Goldschmidt singled to left and Marcell Ozuna singled to right to put men on first and second with one down. Melancon got Yadier Molina to strike out on a 1-2 fastball that was outside and about shoulder high, and finished the game by striking out Kolten Wong on a nasty 2-2 curveball in the dirt.

So, we head to Birdtown tied at 1, with Mike Soroka getting the call Sunday. After the disappointment of Thursday’s game, Folty’s start may have been the best and in the biggest spot since Tom Glavine won Game 6 in the 95 World Series. Good on you Mike. Now let’s get our other Mike to match you.

21 thoughts on “Atlanta 3, St. Louis 0”

  1. Mike translated his potential into big stage production yesterday. I am proud of him and happy for us.

    Adam Duvall, enjoy your moment in the sun. You earned it.

    See you Sunday, Mike Soroka.

    Go Braves.

  2. Like I said after the first game: Flaherty is their best pitcher by miles, and our guy was straight-up better. We’re going into their house and we’re throwing a 21-year old All Star who doesn’t give up runs on the road. He spells the word color with a U. His name is MIKE SOROKA!

  3. Snitker’s hit and run with Joyce and Swanson was extremely defensible. Folty is the closest thing to an automatic out in baseball. If you do nothing with Joyce and Swanson strikes out, they won’t score that inning. The Cardinals defense was suspect in game 1, so forcing their hand was a good move. The only criticism is that you open the 5th with an automatic out, but I still say it’s worth the risk.

  4. I don’t think Snitker made a single wrong move yesterday, and the only reason everyone was going nuts over every 50-50 decision was because of the day before, when he did get a couple wrong…although even then, once Martin got injured, he was kind of screwed.

  5. @7

    I agree with that line of reasoning, and so did the announcers. The questionable part was whether the chance of scoring outweighed the chance of clearing Folty so RAJ could lead off the 5th.

    Well, it worked out in the end.

  6. @9

    With runs at such a premium, folks on here were way too eager to give up on scoring chances yesterday IMO. You had it with the folks who were super pissed that we didn’t forfeit the inning and leave Folty in the game in the seventh. Then with this situation, having Acuna lead off an inning is not worth giving up on a first-and-third, one-out scoring chance.

  7. @7 The only part I don’t like is I thought Kakes was thrown out trying for home not to get back to the bag at 3B (only had radio and Gameday – no TV). If Kakes had really taken off for home then the whole thing makes more sense.

    If Dansby gets his bat on the ball at all, we get a run no matter what with Joyce running.

  8. @7 & 8- Even though the Braves won the game, I still have to disagree. Neither Nick or Joyce are all that fast, so really how good are the odds that you’re going to steal a run there against a sound defensive ball club? The Cardinals certainly weren’t fooled. I get that Folty isn’t a great hitting pitcher, and you’re giving an inning away simply letting him hit. It’s still productive to let him hit there though because you’re clearing the pitcher’s spot, and you’re adding one more AB for a position player down the chain.

    Intentionally running yourself out of an inning is never good strategy.

  9. I will admit to not liking Snit pulling Folty for Duvall to PH, and being totally wrong. Snit made the exact right choice in that situation.

    I just largely hated it because Folty was going strong, and with the exception of Max and maybe Greene, I don’t trust the Braves pen.

  10. In the moment, I thought Snitker pulled Max and went to Melancon to try to build his confidence back, which I didn’t like. In the quotes after the game, it’s clear he did it to protect Max, who hadn’t gone in back-to-back games all year, and frankly, I get wanting to protect the guy. I was 100% comfortable with removing Folty for a PH.

    I think Snit isn’t a brilliant tactician, and he could learn something from Bobby about platoons, double-switches, and regular days off, but he’s very solid and if anything he’s demonstrated an ability to evolve that’s pretty remarkable for a baseball lifer who’s spent decades with the same organization. He has a high baseball IQ *and* a high EQ, and there’s not a shadow of a doubt that every man in that clubhouse would run through a brick wall for him. He’s a big part of why our young players, from Folty to Fried to Acuna and Albies to Soroka, reached their full potential in the majors.

    I’m behind him.

  11. @8 once Martin got injured, he was kind of screwed.

    That’s where I come down on game 1. Should have burned Greene early? Maybe not, but who would you have used then? Jackson? Maybe the same thing happens.

  12. @15

    Yeah, I think he should’ve left Keuchel in to face Goldschmidt in the fifth, though I can certainly see an argument for not, and I also think he should’ve left Fried in for the eighth.

    However, his plan was not Luke Jackson, it was Chris Martin. So to lay Luke Jackson at his feet seems a bit unfair.

  13. I’m in complete agreement with AAR about Snit. The one decision I questioned at the time last night was not pinch running for BMac in the 7th. Mac is to base running as Folty is to hitting. You greatly increase your chance of scoring with Hamilton pinch running there. (Unless someone hits a homer, it’s hard to imagine Mac scoring from first—but as coop said even Mac had a good chance of scoring on Duvall’s shot😀)

    But Snit made clear after the game that he needed Mac in for defense in the 8th and 9th. I trust him on that and have no reason to question it.

    It does make you wonder why they are carrying three catchers and Hamilton on the roster.

  14. If we’re down 1 – 0, then you see Hamilton.

    I wonder if there have been any studies to determine how often pinch-runner X scores when baserunner Y would not have scored? Certainly there would be some subjectivity in those determinations. I have the feeling that absent a stolen base, the difference would be small.

    (Most likely case is that neither score. Next most likely case is that either score.)

  15. My second guessing is more about the rotation set up and the way they are using Fried. I think we are likely to lose both Keuchel starts. He’d be my 4th starter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *