Braves 3, Cardinals 1

If you can meet with Hope and Doom
And treat those two imposters just the same
Then you haven’t been reading Braves Journal.

Dansby Swanson erased 8 2/3 innings of doom in the top of the 9th with a game tying double, and Adam Duvall followed with a 2 run single to provide the final margin. Swanson’s double scored Billy Hamilton, pinch running for Josh Donaldson, who led off with a double. After Nick Markakis and pinch hitter Adeiny Hechavarria struck out, and Hamilton stole 3rd, Brian McCann was intentionally walked to set the stage for Swanson. Duvall, who entered in the 8th as a pinch hitter and stayed in as part of a double switch, scored Swanson and pinch runner Rafael Ortega.

Carlos Martinez allowed 3 runs for the 2nd consecutive appearance. Martinez threw 26 pitches, and may not be available Monday, if still wanted.

Mike Soroka (see JonathanF’s excellent precap) and Adam Wainwright were dominant. Marcell Ozuna led off the bottom of the 2nd with a bloop double, went to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on a Matt Carpenter sacrifice fly. Apart from an Ozuna single in the 7th, that was the only baserunner Soroka allowed in his 7 innings.

Wainwright went 7 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits and walking 2, both walks coming in the 8th inning, as he ran out of gas on his way to 120 pitches. A Swanson single preceded the 2 walks, and loaded the bases for Freddie Freeman, but Andrew Miller got Freeman to fly out routinely to center. Dansby ended the night 3 for 4, with 2 doubles.

It got interesting in the bottom of the 8th as Max Fried walked the first 2 he faced. Max got a fly out to right before leaving for Darren O’Day, and threw 13 pitches total. O’Day caught pinch runner Harrison Bader trying to steal 3rd for the 2nd out; Bader probably scores on pinch hitter Jose Martinez‘s subsequent single. Sean Newcomb got Dexter Fowler to end the inning, and Mark Melancon worked around a Paul Goldschmidt double in the 9th to pick up the save.

Game 4 in St. Louis Monday at 3:10 Eastern. Starter to be determined, but expect to see a dose of Dallas Keuchel, Fried, and/or Julio Teheran, as Mike Foltynewicz is lined up for a potential game 5 on regular rest.

Whatever hope or doom is to come – baseball is hard, y’all. Keep calm and trust the Braves.

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Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

431 thoughts on “Braves 3, Cardinals 1”

  1. 3:10 EDT??? I hate day games dangit.

    The Braves are the best road team in the league and, I think, the 2nd best road team in the majors. No reason why we can’t lock it down tomorrow.

    If the Cards throw Hudson, I’d go with Julio. They basically have the same peripherals and Hudson has given up more walks. The Cards have mostly a righty lineup and Julio’s been good against righties. I’d give him a pretty short leash and see if Keuchel could go a couple of innings. If they put all their lefties in against Julio, it could make things easier for DK when he comes in.

  2. Adam Duvall is the first Braves player to hit a go-ahead RBI when down to the last out of a postseason game since J.D. Drew in 2004.

    And we all know who we traded to acquire Drew. The guy who started tonight’s game for the Cardinals.

  3. FWIW, I’d go with Julio as well. The cold weather works to help Julio’s biggest weakness: the gopherball. But I’d keep him on the shortest imaginable leash.

  4. Nick is 100% correct about that last thread being an all-time-great in the re-read category.

    Go Braves.

  5. Not to get ahead of things, but if we can beat the Cardinals, the Dodgers are looking extremely beatable. I really don’t want us to play the Nationals in the NLCS.

  6. @7

    Tomorrow’s gonna be sunny and over 70, apparently, so I’m not sure it’ll be the same effect as tonight, where it was kind of damp and drizzly. That was the main issue today weather-wise, I think…not the temperature (if you must, you can go reference me freaking out during the game as everyone was acting like 65 degrees was the mid 40s or something).

    Also, I still feel the fact that it was 98 degrees in Atlanta at the start of this series is really throwing people off as to the effect of the weather.

  7. @4 – That’s a good point about enticing the Cards to start some lefties. That plays into Fried’s hands as well as Keuchel’s.

    I think it depends on if Keuchel feels up to it. If he does, you might as well use him. Does anyone think Keuchel starts a hypothetical game 5 over Foltynewicz on regular rest?

  8. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…let’s not get ahead of ourselves…let’s not get ahead of ourselves….

  9. So all of you guys who were saying around the 7th inning of the game that you were hoping that the “…Cards would put us out our misery so we don’t get wiped out by the Nats or Dodgers…”. Do you all still feel that way now????

  10. When I was an amateur manager, I found a big part of my job was convincing my players we could win when we were losing, and that we could lose when we are winning.

  11. “Bader probably scores on pinch hitter Jose Martinez‘s subsequent single.”

    Just watched the replay. There was only one out and Bader almost certainly would have been forced to wait and see if Duvall would catch it on the fly (which Duvall almost did). I’m not sure Bader even makes it to 3rd.

    Can we really allow Teheran to pitch even one inning tomorrow?

  12. Holier than thou fans are gonna do what they do…but c’mon, there’s not a single poster here that didn’t love this game. We all want to win. We all vent when we play bad. It’s why this place even exists in the first place…

    Tomorrow’s strategy is gonna be one of those things that might be debated and second guessed for a long time. I have no idea what I’d do. I’d have started Fried in one of these games, so I’ll defer to those that didn’t want to go that route. I guess it has to be Keuchel backed up by Julio???!!!???

  13. @16. I said it more in a way like : if we’re going to lose, I would prefer the cards. Losing to the nats is the worst possible outcome.

  14. I seem to remember stats showing that starting pitchers on 3 days rest have been pretty bad during postseason in recent years. With this in mind, I think Julio should start, but with the short leash if he starts walking the tightrope.

  15. The Cards are righty dominant. Julio has much better success against righties. He has a bad habit of missing arm-side away to lefties ans doesn’t have an out pitch. That’s why the Cards will try to load up on lefties if Julio is the starter.

    Start with Julio and follow with Dallas. The funny part is that Hudson is hittable and the Braves’ approach – patient early to get a high pitch count – will work great against him. And pitching Julio in Busch is better than STP, too. We need someone to eat a few innings since our best bullpen pieces have been used extensively.

    Teheran and Tomlin are the freshest pitchers we have and Greene maybe the freshest reliever.

  16. What a great game. I was literally pacing the floor during the ninth inning. I don’t think I have been on edge as much since the Sid Slid game.

    Many years ago I used to watch Wall Street Week on PBS, and at the end of the show the panelists would give their predictions on the direction of the market in the coming week. There was one panelist who ALWAYS predicted the market was doing down, no matter what (they eventually stopped asking her to be on the panel). Some of the posters on the game threads are just like that panelist.

    Baseball is a game of failure on offense, and even the best players fail to deliver more often than not. If you keep predicting doom and gloom, eventually you will be right, but what’s the point?

  17. Start Dallas and then switch to Julio by the fourth inning to mess up their bench.

    I love Wainwright. I hated that trade then and I still hate that trade now. wainwright is ours.

  18. I’d start Julio. For all the reasons people have pointed out about how it’s the best matchup we could get out of him currently. Snitker had thrown out the possibility that he’d do a “bullpen” start; well, if Julio stuff looks lousy and he runs into trouble, then you bring in the bullpen, and/or Keuchel.

    @32, I’d do it the other way around. Give Julio a chance to pitch well. Save Keuchel for later (or even better, the NLCS).

  19. A leftover bit from yesterday. I missed the pinch runner for McCann until AFTER Dansby doubled. I was putting a dog and cat in and out and probably didn’t miss 10 seconds, but somehow missed that. BUT, why didn’t Ortega score on that or get thrown out trying? Did Ortega fall down? get a bad jump?

    By the time Dansby was 10 feet up the first base line, Ortega should have been half way to second. With two outs, you have to send the runner if he has a one third or better chance of getting there.

  20. As I recall, the Cards leftfielder was playing deep anyway, and Dansby hit that ball so hard off the wall that if Wash had sent Ortega, he’d have been out by about 15 feet.

  21. Great wisdom from Rusty in the recap
    and @17. I’m sure that’s the best approach as a player. As a fan, I do best emotionally when I follow that advice.

  22. @35: Interesting question. From Dansby’s contact to the time DeJong had the ball at short was just about 7.4 seconds. I couldn’t find anything on first to home, but this site https://www.mlb.com/cut4/2016s-fastest-baserunning-feats-in-mlb/c-209340878 says the average time from first to third is 7.9 seconds. So even if Ortega is considerably faster than average I think it’s a tough ask.

    Note that Hamilton has done first to third in 5.24 seconds, so if he’d been on first, not third, it would have been very interesting.

  23. Hamilton’s steal of third seemed ill advised to me at the time. If he’s thrown out the game is over. OTOH, he made it without a throw so it must have been obvious they were basically letting him have it. His justification was that he could score from third on a passed ball or wild pitch. Given the wide and low ones Martinez had been throwing that makes sense.
    Also, someone suggested that his being on third caused Martinez to groove the slider to Dansby, for fear of the wild pitch. Makes sense to me.

  24. I’ll be very surprised if Keuchel doesn’t start. Clearly Folty gets the nod for game 5 if necessary and he will be followed by Fried (hopefully late in the game rather than earlier).
    So go with Keuchel on a very short leash. If they have the lead when Dallas leaves go with Fried. If not we’ll see Julio.
    But what do I know?

  25. @24
    I think you’re spot on, AAR. His loyalty to his players is his greatest gift to the team and I cannot imagine he’d have pulled Anibal after 5 considering he had only given up 1 run and was sitting at 9Ks. Yes, Snit pulled Keuchel after 4 2/3 while only giving up 1 run, but Keuchel wasn’t dominating. Sanchez was in control and could’ve easily pushed one more inning.

  26. I would think Keuchel starts, and Teheran might come in relief like Washington did last night with Anibal and Corbin. I think that’s such an interesting idea when you don’t love your 4th game options.

  27. I would go Julio for 3 to 4 innings unless or until he began to unravel. His 2016 through 2018 stats show a split of .641 OPS against righthanders and .759 against lefthanders. This year they are reversed, .700 for left and .728 versus right. I THINK that Julio switched up the way he was pitching lefthanders and after FanGraphs figured it out and published it, the Nats used that as a starting point for their scouting and demolished Julio late this season. But the cards are so heavy to righthanders, I think he can get us maybe 2 times through and survive. Then, depending on the offense, you maybe try to get 3 to 4 out of Keuchel and then you might get all of the way home.

    I feel good with Folty on full rest for a Game 5, if necessary. I think using both Julio and Keuchel means maybe you can sit Melancon and Fried (who both looked or showed signs of being “gassed”). Every other reliever we might have to use today would then have a day off to get ready for 5, if necessary.

  28. We are so due for a 10 run offensive outburst. Maybe Freeman and Markakis can unclench and contribute today.

  29. Although it is apparently already decided, Keuchel is .700 ops each way on the 2016 through 2018, but is around .794 against righthanders and .620 against lefthanders this year.

    Adjusting for the smaller sample this year, against a righthander heavy lineup he might be as good as Julio, but really not any better. Against a lefthander heavy lineup (like the Dodgers), it would show incompetence of the highest order to voluntarily choose Julio over Keuchel.

  30. Golly, Soroka’s preternaturally poised. If being calm was as easy as knowing you had to, Luke would still be our closer. What a remarkable young man, to have that kind of stuff and that kind of self-possession.

    Actually @42 Ryan it’s interesting, I’m not so much taking issue with Martinez’s decision to yank Sanchez there — his pitch count was up, and he’s always got a bit of smoke and mirrors going on — as the specific way that he managed the inning as it went on.

    First, Davey has been overrelying on his starters to cover for the massive holes in his bullpen. Strasburg was terrific in relief in the wild card game. Scherzer was, honestly, only ok in relief, but got the job done.

    Patrick Corbin hasn’t made a bullpen appearance since September 2017. (He worked 2 2/3 in relief. They won the wild card game and got swept in the Division Series and Corbin didn’t throw a pitch, as they were planning to make him the Game 4 starter.) The ability to come into a game and immediately get outs is not something every starter can do; it’s pretty contrary to the mental approach you need in order to pace yourself to get 20 outs.

    Corbin came in and seemed a bit tentative: he was missing his spots with his slider and wasn’t able to put guys away. Still, even if he appeared like he wasn’t totally ready to come in out of the pen, the Dodgers were fully prepared: Dave Roberts acknowledged after the game that he’d planned for the Nats to bring Corbin in from the bullpen.

    So, Corbin came into the game to try to protect the Nats’ slender 2-1 lead. He threw 15 pitches to the first two batters, as Bellinger hit a full-count single and Seager struck out. Then he struck out A.J. Pollock on three straight. At that point, Martinez got too comfortable on the bench. Corbin went 2-0 on David Freese, who then hit a pinch single, putting men on first and third. Then, Russell Martin hit a two-run double, putting the Dodgers ahead, and Martinez probably should have come out of the dugout to yank him. After Chris Taylor drew a five-pitch walk, he definitely should have.

    But Martinez left him in, and Corbin gave up another two-run double — 5-2 Dodgers, with four runs in. Then, Martinez ordered another intentional walk, and he did the dumbest thing of the inning: he brought in Wander Suero, who is essentially the Nats’ Luke Jackson: a flamethrower with decent stuff who nonetheless has a knack for giving up tons of runs.

    Justin Turner’s three-run homer to greet Suero only provided an exclamation point to underline the point: Martinez had no plan for the inning beyond hoping that Corbin could come in cold and get three outs even if the Dodgers threw a bunch of right-handed pinch hitters at him. As soon as the inning went south, he waited far too long to get his guy, and then he brought in one of his worst relievers. Meanwhile, the team collapsed around him.

    I think Snitker would have done a few things differently. First, I don’t think he would have brought in one of his starters in that situation. (Arguably, if Corbin was rested and ready, he should have started the game, with Sanchez available as a situational long man. After all, Corbin is the better starter, and Sanchez has spent plenty of time as a swingman.) Second, he would have had a much quicker hook once he saw that his pitcher didn’t have it.

    I’m not sure that Snitker wouldn’t have brought in Luke Jackson, and I’m certain that Luke Jackson is at least as capable of serving up a three-run homer, but Luke would have come into the game at least two or three batters earlier. Plus, I think the clubhouse would not have lost confidence in the way that the Nats appeared to.

    Obviously, our bullpen collapsed in Game 1. But our offense nearly came back. The Nats just sort of wilted.

  31. I’m so disappointed in Markakis. He’s now hitting .196/.250/.286 in 60 postseason PAs between Baltimore and Atlanta. For Atlanta, he’s 3-28 with one extra basehit and 3 walks.

    I want to win today, and I think we will win today, but more importantly, I want to see Freddie, Donaldson, and Markakis snap out of it. Together, they’re 6-38 with 3 total extra basehits. We need more out of them not only get out of this series, but to have any shot against LA.

    I actually think it was at least a defensible move to walk the lefty McCann to get to the righty Swanson, and it is nice that our catcher is not an offensive zero to the point that teams are willing to take the bat out of his hands in the right situation. I wish we could see a lefty so we can get Duvall a start and McCann a rest. Joyce has been terrible also.

    But I agree. I think we’re due for an offensive outburst. The starting pitching discussions are largely irrelevant if our 3-6 in the lineup isn’t 7-46 and we’re putting up more runs.

    If you’re St. Louis, you have to be thinking that that was the game you needed to win. I hope they’re crushed.

  32. @49

    I feel like everyone touting the Nats as the dark horse in the NL continues to forget that their bullpen is an absolute trash fire. Like, so bad that they feel like they have to take their Game 3 starter and have him pitch an inning in Game 2 just to secure a win. So bad that they feel like they have to decimate one of the best rotations in baseball just to get through games.

    They should’ve been all set up with a rotation of Corbin-Strasburg-Scherzer-Corbin-Strasburg, with Scherzer a major factor in any potential Game 5 and Sanchez playing the role that Teheran is currently playing for us. But Martinez has so little faith that his bullpen isn’t going to take a win and light it on fire that he had to ruin his rotation and pitch Scherzer in Game 2, thereby starting Anibal Sanchez in the second-most pivotal game of the season (and the only reason it’s not the most pivotal is that they played in a wild-card game last week).

    Daniel Hudson saved their bacon for a week, stepping up and pitching well in the wild-card game and in Game 2, but that now makes one bullpen arm that Martinez can count on…maybe. There’s just nowhere for him to go, so he rips his rotation apart and torpedoes any chance they have while he’s frantically grasping at straws.

  33. I guess I’m disappointed that Snitker didn’t listen to me and start Julio instead of Keuchel. This makes him a terrible manager and I hate him. But I hope things work out!

  34. There are four baseball games today. There’s also the possibility that all four could be the final games of their series. Let’s hope that’s the case for at least the one happening in St. Louis!

  35. MLB network guys were definitely questioning the decision to walk McCann. Dansby was having a good game all around up to that point and his bat looked quick. McCann is running on fumes and has looked like he’s swiging a wet newspaper lately. I’m glad they walked him.

    That was the biggest hit in decades for us … IF we can make it matter and keep playing.

  36. People really wanted Teherán to start today? So the game would be 4-0 Cardinals by the third inning and the Braves would be looking at essentially a one-game playoff vs. Flaherty?

  37. 20—Wasn’t being “holier than thou” at all…I just haven’t checked in in a while, and after that thrilling win, I wanted to see how the thread had gone. Predictably, in hindsight, it was awesome.

  38. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get out of a meeting that my manager scheduled with me at work today? He hardly ever schedules meetings, but my luck, he did. Games 1 and 2 I was able to stream on TBS here at work, but looks like he’s thrown a wrench in my plans.

  39. @56 Yeah, of course, with a lineup full of righties and Julio having a 0.90 ERA against the Cards and Keuchel on three days rest with Julio having like 10, I’d like to see Julio get the start. On the year, Julio and Dallas are about even as our second best starter.

  40. I hope Keuchel doesn’t leave us down 4-0 after three innings. Three days rest is never good. Maybe Julio can bail us out.

  41. What was the reasoning to start Keuchel on short rest again? I mean, it’s not like he pitched effectively in Game 1.

  42. For the record, Dallas was still the right call. He was the right call because you’d rather go Keuchel-Folty than Teheran-Keuchel.

    @74

    Did he not? There was nothing wrong with his performance in Game 1, and in fact, Snit shouldn’t have taken him out when he did.

  43. They need to be more patient against Hudson. Getting his pitch count up is absolutely critical today. Now, with a 2-0 lead, he’s going to throw more strikes and will be hard to hit against.

    Stupid decision to go with Keuchel. Three days rest is not enough.

  44. So, where are all the Dallas defenders now?

    Guy doesn’t have anything to put right handers away.

    Right move was discussed here yesterday; start Julio, then switch to keuchel to face the lefties or make them empty the bench.

    What they’ve done with Julio is disrespectful seeing as how Dallas has been overall the worse pitcher of the two.

  45. @75 Baloney. You’d rather go Teheran-Keuchel because then the Cards would use up the few lefties they have on Teheran. When we’re down 2-0 or more, there’s no way they will bring in Folty. That is a pure series-losing move.

    Carl is right on that score.

  46. @80

    The point was that you’d rather have the combo of Keuchel-Folty in the next two games than Teheran-Keuchel. And again, Teheran was so bad over the last month that he was LEFT OFF THE PLAYOFF ROSTER. Now we’re acting like he was really secretly our second-best pitcher?

  47. -Pitcher who dominated the Cards this year. Advantage Julio
    -Opponent with a RH heavy lineup. Advantage Julio
    -Ballpark more forgiving to flyball pitchers. Advantage Julio
    -Well rested vs short rest. Advantage Julio.

    Why again did we start Dallas? What was the objective advantage he had over Julio?

  48. @82

    He’s better.

    There’s nothing like playoff baseball to cause everybody to miss the forest for the trees on an epidemic level.

  49. @79 that’s the disrespect I mention; last year it was defensible, not so much this year even with the last couple of bad starts.

    Irrespective of how he got in the roster, Teheran – keuchel was the better move today.

    Anyway, its all a moot point if the offense continues to crap the bed.

    Edit: I obviously mean teheran- keuchel both used today; Folty waits for game 5 no matter what.

    Oh look, another McCann popup…… Best AB by him is getting intentionally walked, lol.

  50. Well at least we are swinging at a lot of pitches early in the count against a dude that walks a lot of hitters…smh

  51. @75, Keuchel pitched 4.2 innings, gave up 5 hits (3 doubles) and 3 walks, no Ks. I dunno…doesn’t stir confidence that he’s the #1 guy on three days rest.

  52. I’ve been more comfortable with the idea of starting Dallas here than Julio, and still am. Julio is just too boom or bust for me to feel good about in the playoffs.

    Regardless though, I hope they don’t hesitate to go with Max in relief if needed.

  53. Yeah, the plate approach needs to be better. Joyce put together a long at-bat leading to a walk. You cannot, under any circumstances, pop the next pitch up. If you’re sitting dead red and you get your pitch and you hit a frozen rope right at somebody, that’s one thing. But you can’t swing at the first pitch after a walk and just pop out.

  54. Back in 2002, when the Braves went up 2-1, they started Glavine on 3 days rest instead of #4 starter Damian Moss (who had a strong season). Glavine was allowed to give up 7 runs before finally being lifted.

  55. I’m pinch hitting for DK in the 3rd. One advantage of a 6 man bench is you can effectively have a DH in a game like this and a pitcher never needs to hit.

  56. Dallas had trouble even putting their pitcher away. He’s now just a good #4 during a long season. Takes the ball every 5th day and usually keeps you in a game with 5-6 quality innings. He’s not a #3 or better on a playoff team. Not someone you give the ball to twice in a postseason series

    Add another advantage Julio would have had. The Cards haven’t already seen him this series.

  57. @104 Tough choice, because I don’t want him facing gold and ozuna again, but if they are not using Tomlin or Teheran, I wouldn’t want to use up the pen.

    Dansby came to play

    Dallas doesn’t bunt

  58. Pitchers’ inability to bunt is never more maddening than when you’re down in a close game in the playoffs. Good lord, have mercy.

  59. I like Keuchel, but he’s closer to Julio Teheran than he is the high AAV guys whose contracts he was chasing. I think he’s helped anchor the staff in some ways, but I think he’s looking at another long offseason if he doesn’t properly conceptualize his value.

  60. If we don’t score in this inning, I fear the shadows become a factor…or at least become the excuse du jour for the day.

  61. @112 – Agreed, Rob.

    Not starting Soroka twice this series is also a mistake. 1 and 4 for him, 2 and 5 for Folty , 3 for Keuchel or Fried seems like it was a better plan.

    Freeman, do something already!

  62. I’m fed up with players saying that they are good to go after an injury and then proceeding to stink it up only to later say they actually were still hurting.

    Dansby did it last year, Freeman is doing it this year.

    Sad thing is if he were out, there is really no good replacement for him at first.

  63. Yeah I was gonna say the same as @120, the pitching rotation should have been Soroka then Folty/Fried on whatever order for games two and three. Keuchel wouldn’t even get a start if I was the GM. Pitching him twice is unfathomable to me. If we do lose, then a lot of the loss will be on management’s shoulders.

    @57, it’s all good.

    Edit: so does “Freddie Freeman Postseason Hilights” make the list of world’s shortest books? Looking that way, ugh.

  64. Huh, maybe Hudson isn’t seeing Molina well due to the shadows as well, lol.

    Well, the shadows will be gone by the 7th inning when the offense wakes up, hopefully.

    F you, Neck; you are a cancer upon the organization.

  65. @125 As far as the postseason rotation goes – if the Braves can somehow win today’s game, that means they would only have thrown Soroka and Folty once each and would leave them in position to run out a far more optimal NLCS rotation.

    Edit – if the Braves win it in 5 then Soroka is lined up for NLCS game 1 and I’m all for that.

  66. @137

    Yeah, I think Atlanta thought that they would win this series, and the back end of this sets up a different rotation in the NLCS. I just hope that this rotation makeup didn’t overlook the Cardinals too much.

  67. I said Dallas shouldn’t face gold or Ozuna again, and I’m sure many of you agree with that. Snit does nothing.

    IF we get to the NLCS, Dallas shouldn’t get a start against the dodgers murderers row.

    BIG IF.

  68. @137, while true, you kinda are maximizing the odds of not getting to the NLCS. Imagine the Cards only throwing Flaherty once…on purpose. I think it’s a fireable offense.

  69. If he can’t get the pitcher……

    Whew, he was just a 50/50 call away from bases loaded , one out.

    Got out of it, nice job.
    I appreciate what the guy did for half of the season , but he has got to go back to drive line and get his stuff in order.

  70. I really appreciate what Keuchel has done for us this year, but I’m looking forward to hearing Scott Boras talk about how good he is all next offseason.

  71. Well, now all we have to do is hold a one-run lead with our bullpen for five innings…no sweat, right?

    And yes, hopefully we’ll add on.

  72. Way to go Ozzie. I knew they could get to Hudson. I’m just glad Keuchel only gave up three runs. We have a fighting chance now.

  73. I still like Rusty’s approach. Before this inning, I wanted to remind all of you that the Braves could still win this game. Now we need to remember that we can still lose it. Let’s get some add-ons!

  74. We just need to get through one more inning to be able to go Fried-Greene-Melancon, if that’s the plan.

  75. Four straight games for Fried (shaky last time) and Melancon (shaky every time) is a terrifying prospect.

  76. Not sure we have much choice, Stu. Maybe whoever throws the sixth can go multiple innings. It’ll be interesting to see who that is.

  77. Still have 4 innings to go. We’re gonna see either Julio or Tomlin at some point. Newk in the 8th and Greene in the 9th.

    We just need to get more runs.

  78. @207 How do you know? Cervelli was hitting in the pitcher’s spot and now Max is running in the pitcher’s slot.

  79. Come on, Adam…a single puts us in the catbird seat, an extra-base hit blows this thing open right here.

  80. @220 I agree that he should not have to pitch today. I’m just saying it’s not impossible until someone else comes in.

    And so there you go. Newk’s turn.

  81. Scoring this run would be huge…obviously. Can Freeman actually manage to get a ball to the outfield?

  82. How many times can the Braves leave the bases loaded today?

    The Cardinals tried so hard to gift wrap the Braves another run there too.

  83. Ronald may as well have taken a nap on 3B. That is atrocious not being able to score a leadoff triple. That is a total team embarrassment.

  84. @258

    Yeah, I think I do. Teheran in a late relief situation doesn’t sound like a good idea to me at all.

  85. I’d say have him go another, but I don’t especially want him facing Goldschmidt unless we extend our lead here.

  86. At this point, we’re facing Martinez in the 9th no matter the score. Watch out if he has to face Acuna again.

  87. I think McCann has the series lead in forcing TBS to use the audio dump button…and no one’s likely to catch him.

  88. @259 I think Josh’s low average is partly due to some good Cardinals pitching. I wonder if some of it’s the black hole behind him though in the form of Kakes, Joyce and McCann forcing him to press with no protection?

  89. @277 I vote don’t mess with any of Folty’s mojo and let McCann catch, if Snit checks Braves Journal.

    I’d be in favor of giving Duvall a start in one of the COF spots, though.

  90. 283 — Well, Teheran. And I guess Miles Mikolas would be available for them. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

  91. Don’t let your long reliever give up the lead to their best hitter when your second-best reliever (at worst) is available to face him.

    By the way, speaking of long relief, if we go extras, it’s Julio for as long as the game goes.

  92. Surprised Snit sent Tomlin in for that out. But I’m all for lifting him for Greene for the 2 biggest outs given this game.

  93. I know conventional wisdom is you don’t put the winning run on base, but do you pitch around if you fall behind here?

  94. Fire Freeman into the sun.
    How big is stranding Ronald on third with no outs, as we knew it would be.

  95. @316 Yes, when your #3 hitter can’t lift a simple fly ball to the OF, even for an out, that hurts. It should be 5-4 right now.

  96. @349

    Yeah, let’s just continue to hear about not winning a playoff series since 2001 just to spare you the ignominy of us losing to what very well could be a better team in the NLCS.

  97. Got a bad feeling this is the game we’ll be talking about this offseason. The one the Braves “should” have won to finally advance for the first time since 2001, but blew it.

  98. Why the hell was freeman on the back side of first base? Makes no sense. Should’ve caught it and DP.

    Freeman’s got some splaining to do post game.

  99. Freeman and Markakis need to be locked in a room together and forced to watch the replays of these games in a loop.

  100. I mean, wasn’t it the fundamentals and solid execution that they all told me Marsalis was there for? Consummate professional making throwing miscues, lolligagging after balls, failing to advance runners. If he’s great in the clubhouse, let him be a bench coach.

  101. Now that we got through that, I’ll say the thought that came to me 15 minutes ago. I wonder if we almost have to pitch Melancon next. If we go with Teheran, get a lead, take him out and Melancon allows St. Louis to tie, we’re kind of screwed.

  102. @374 That’s an excellent question. You’re probably right in it having to be Melancon because you can’t use Sororka or Folty, and that’s it beyond Tehran. I don’t know of a position player that could pitch in desperation, ans really don’t want to see that in the playoffs.

  103. I want to make clear, even if Teheran blows it in the tenth , it has nothing to do with the situation of him being a better starting option today.

  104. @380 – I mean, some terrible fielding gifting you a runner on f-ing 3rd with no outs is a pretty nice break to catch. Braves not capitalizing on the opportunities man.

  105. Yeah this is going to be over soon.

    Them getting their ABC baseball BS and the braves screwing up every chance they got will be the difference.

    I’m glad they get a day off to just realize how badly they have stunk on offense.

  106. @387 still better than 2 HR’s in the first inning by Keuchel

    @391 – agreed 100%. Only Ronald , dansby and Ozzie came to play today. And the whole series , along with Duvall.

  107. I mean, that was basically a forgone conclusion as soon as Julio entered the game, right? We all saw that coming.

  108. We are tied 2-2 without any positive input from Freeman at all. He, Joyce, McCann, markakis have been useless

  109. @395 absolutely. I wouldn’t even offer him a contract extension until he proves that he can come back from the elbow thing and be his old self.

    @397 Add rain man to that list. Except for one vital double, he’s been terrible.

  110. On the positive side, game 5 is in Atlanta, and Folty’s on the bump. Facing Flaherty is going to be tough the way a lot of guys are struggling, but if you want it, you got to go get it.

  111. I’m not the world’s biggest Freeman fan and this is NOT helping matters. Oh well. One more try. See y’all Wednesday.

  112. @398 yeah…I figured he deserved to be off the list due to a hit that mattered. Freddie and the other guys can’t remotely say that. We left the series on the table today without executing basic baseball fundamentals and now our job gets really difficult with flaherty on the mound. Hard to believe we will beat him twice

  113. Neither of these teams can beat the Dodgers anyway. I just wanted the Braves to exorcise to demons from 2011/2012.

  114. @398 That vital double was as big as they come, though. This series is now over without it. There’s no way Donaldson is anything close to a goat. Markakis, Joyce and McCann need to do something behind him.

  115. It takes a lot to lose to the Cardinals, frankly, so there are no shortage of goats. There’s Dallas Keuchel, who refused to sign with anyone in the offseason, and then proceeds to pitch two games where he can’t get out of the 5th and 4th innings, respectively. There’s the entire 3-4-5-6 hitters in the lineup, who have been completely worthless. There’s a lot to choose from today.

    I don’t really have a problem with how Snit is managing. I feel like he’s managing as aggressively as he should be. Between Keuchel, Freeman, and Donaldson, you’ve got a ton of money tied up in guys who just have not done much this series.

  116. Tehran also showed why two seasons in a row he’s deservedly been originally left off a playoff roster.

  117. Soroka only pitching once in this series is on AA. He should not get a pass. He *will* get a pass since this is Atlanta and we have no media, but…he shouldn’t get a pass.

  118. Gotta shake things up for game 5 and try to get some kind of offense. I’d move Dans up, Freddie down, start Duvall and a different catcher and maybe Ortega too. So I’m expecting exactly zero of those things to actually happen.

  119. I’m really shocked there’s no complaining about Snit not bunting in the 9th. Tons of people here love small ball. That was the one time during a game where bunting is defensible.

    It’s almost like Snit knows that Freeman is worthless. Except that he’s batting him 3rd. So many paradoxes.

  120. Never heard once about Freeman’s bone spurs before September and suddenly they’re about to sink this whole season.

  121. @409; yeah, it wasn’t even well hit either. Ozzie turns the double play a bit better and Molina would’ve just flied out for the third out. Or Donaldson stays at third and Julio starts the DP with him.

    Many other things to blame today, but the offense (3-7) has to be public enemy #1

    @410 – have to agree with you too.

  122. @407: Where did I read that SunTrust Park’s mound height is a big reason for Soroka’s awful home stats? If true, the goat is Ed Mangan.

  123. @413 yeah, I read that too. They really have to fix that if there is an NLCS for us.

    Freeman hitting .115 since September 11th.

    This is fine.

  124. @413 can’t remember if it was here or TC but I read that too. No idea if it’s true or just something made up on the internet.

    They were going to make Keuchel the #1 no matter what, but in reality he’s Julio – shouldn’t see the mound in a tough series unless there’s no other choice. And we started him twice. Not much else I can say. So here we are, having to win all the non-Keuchel games, something easily predictable weeks ago. I don’t blame AA for everything, but this strategy has made this series much tougher than maybe it should have been.

  125. Now Freeman is saying that his elbow has nothing to do with his struggles.

    So he’s a liar as well.

    What is it then, LASIK surgery issues again? Exhaustion from Snitker playing him every day?

  126. I think our team is better than their team, and I still expect us to just flat out out-hit them in one of these games. It’s less likely against Flaherty, but it’s also less likely for them to do the same against Folty.

    Freeman, Donaldson, and Markakis are now 7 for 48 with 4 walks and 3 extra basehits. If you had told me they’d hit like this, then I’d have told you it would be really hard to win the series. If you add in McCann and Joyce, you’re looking at the 3-7 spots going 10 for 64 with 6 walks and 4 extra basehits. Acuna, Dansby, and Duvall, and a little bit of Albies, has been what has saved us.

    The pitching for the most has been quite good, but you’d expect that against St. Louis’ mediocre offense. But starting Keuchel twice and getting a total of 8 innings out of him has put way too much strain on the rest of the staff. In retrospect, maybe the approach was to make Fried a multi-inning guy at some point. Obviously Martin has hurt that.

  127. After two decades of disappointments and early exits from this franchise, I don’t watch playoff games, I just follow from a distance, but was at my parent’s house tonight and they had it on. Just an absolutely miserable experience. I just wish this team would for once play with some authority in the playoffs.

  128. If your starting corner OF is Markakis, then you aren’t a legit WS contender…but still, I just want to win a series. It’s been damn near 20 years.

  129. @417 Coincidental that the younger guys are playing well and the older guys have no gas? The only old guy playing well is O’Day.

    I still think they should have started Julio. He could have be in the game in the lowest leverage situations rather than the highest. We all know that he’s less reliable in his first inning. That means he should never be used in relief.

    Our pitchers pitching the best were used the least today. O’Day could have gone more than 2 pitches. Newk could have gone another inning. Tomlin should have gotten a chance to finish the 8th. Set up Greene for the lower part of the order in the 9th.

    But all in all, the inability to get the two runs that Acuna basically gift-wrapped was the ultimate cause of the loss. The Cards had no such failure in the 10th. I hate to put any of it on Ozzie as he gave us our lead, but he could not get Acuna in and neither could Freddie or JD. Freddie is the ultimate issue this series. As competitve as we are, we cannot be a dominant winning team without Freddie at least getting his walks and singles. Freddie being Freddie and we would have walked away from this tonight.

  130. The absolute best case (realistic) scenario for ownership was to get 5 games in this series, and if you make it, 5 games in the NLCS. That gets them all the home games they could realistically ask for.

  131. Coincidental that the younger guys are playing well and the older guys have no gas? The only old guy playing well is O’Day.

    Melancon has had a nice recovery as well.

    But it does tell you that you should never trade your prospects. The young players have played well this series, and the old players, for the most part, have not. We have all offseason to talk about this, but there’s no reason to think this team won’t continue to get better with how young it is. I think it’s even possible, in theory, that with all of this postseason experience, the team could get better this year. If they can win on Wednesday, they’ll get all of the postseason experience they could have realistically asked for hoped for. That has value.

  132. This thread has.been almost as hilarious as yesterday’s. It’s just a lot harder to laugh about it.

  133. And of course, Washington is winning 6-to-goddamn-1, meaning Game 5 happens while I have to be working. Los Angeles can absolutely shove it square up their ass…completely useless.

  134. Snitker absolutely has to change the lineup around. It’s just too hard to go from 3-7 without a hope of anyone doing anything. Duvall has to play and bat 5th and Dansby has to be 6th. McCann had some good swings against Flaherty in game 2 so he will stay in and if they have to play Markakis he should be 8th. This is two post-seasons in a row that Markakis has hit like .110. Can we not improve that spot next year?

  135. @426 I’m not on the ledge quite yet but I agree a lineup shakeup is a good idea. Figure we’re stuck with Markakis but moving him down seems wise. I’d do something like this:

    Acuna CF
    Albies 2B
    Donaldson 3B
    Freeman 1B
    Duvall LF
    Markakis RF
    Swanson SS
    Catcher

    I’ve really no preference for who starts at C, could make a case for any of the 3. Our bench gets really LH-heavy if you put McCann on it, I guess. Bottom line is the middle of the order has to hit, especially with RISP. You can only shuffle the deck chairs so much.

  136. Only one of four teams won clinching games last night. The Braves are not alone. We beat Flaherty once and we’ll beat him again and Folty will be brilliant again.

    I don’t know what to do about Freddie. He’s one of the best hitters in the league and the centerpiece of our offense. You have to trust he’ll eventually come up big. We live or die with Freddie.

    Last night as well as Game 1, we were inches from winning. If Molina’s tying single gets into Freddie’s glove, game over. In Game 1, it was three doubles barely fair. Last night it was a bouncer just a bit too high. The baseball gods owe us now and owe us big.

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