Braves Game 2 Recap: Braves 5, Mets 3 (10) — Big Bear Blast (Game Thread)

What specifically was going through your mind after Edwin Diaz dropped a 3-1 slider in for a strike against Marcell Ozuna in the top of the ninth? Ozuna’s strikeout vs. Diaz yesterday? Staring down the barrel of a not having a win on the board with 3.3% of the season done? The prospect of scoring one run in 18 innings to start the season? 

Personally, I was thinking about what Braves social media would look like if the Braves started 0-3. If an 0-3 start with 159 games left to play caused a descension into anarchy where Tiger Woods simultaneously became both a deity and a meme, can you imagine what an 0-3 start would have looked like with just 57 games left to make it up? 

Ozuna on the other hand was thinking about how Diaz rung him up on an 0-2 fastball the day before, a questionable pitch selection given the count and hitter. Ozuna was ready for the two-strike fastball, hit it over the wall, and rescued Braves social media from lord only knows what. And in the process, he set the Braves up to become the first road team to win a game with the new extra innings rule in place. 

Positives: 

  • The Braves simultaneously pulled a game out of the fire while dealing something of a mental blow to a division rival in the process. That’s huge in a 60-game season, although if any team has experience responding from losses of that nature it’s probably the Mets. 
  • William Contreras has hit an RBI double in extra innings on every pitch he has seen in the majors. He also caught a pitcher who throws a lot of sliders for two innings without any problems. He probably earned his first career start tomorrow night. 
  • The unsung hero of the game was Ronald Acuña Jr., despite going 0-for-5. He raced over to cut off Michael Conforto’s hit in the ninth, forcing Conforto to retreat to first instead of being in position to score on the ensuing Amed Rosario single. Then again, would you try to take an extra 90 feet on a man has an actual rocket launcher attached to his shoulder? 
  • Max Fried’s curveball is really, really good. The pitch that fanned Yonenis Cespedes to end the first inning belongs in a museum. 
  • I don’t think there is a better combination of things on the planet than dogs and home runs, and Adam Duvall managed to put the two together with one beautiful moment in the second inning. Seriously, Duvall could probably take 100 swings in batting practice aiming for that cutout and still not hit it. He should go buy a lottery ticket. 
  • The bullpen was really good. A.J. Minter was another unsung hero, keeping the game manageable with some huge pitches in a seventh inning jam. He had good life on his fastball, and Darren O’Day also fired a clean inning. 
  • Dansby Swanson took a 2-1 lead over his girlfriend Mallory Pugh in terms of sports played, as his 10th inning leap over Rosario qualified him to represent the United States at next year’s Olympics in the 110-meter hurdles. 
  • Pete Alonso has been swinging the bat like one of the Coca-Cola polar bears so far instead of a real one, a real credit to Atlanta’s pitching staff. 

Negatives: 

  • Luke Jackson has picked up where he left off last year in his quest to allow as many baserunners as possible without actually letting any of them score. I watch him pitch the same way a six-year-old might watch Houdini; impressed that he is actually going to escape while simultaneously terrified this is going to be the one time where he can’t get out of the box. 
  • The second New York run was a self-inflicted wound. Ronald Acuña Jr. took a bad angle on the Amed Rosario triple, and the extra base there allowed him to score on the sacrifice fly. 
  • Max Fried was leaving the ball up in the zone a little bit. It got him in some trouble with a pair of walks in the second inning, and then the Mets took advantage of those mistakes with two runs in the fifth. Sure it’s a little bit of a nitpick for a guy who pitched pretty well, but the segment is called “negatives” for a reason. 
  • Swanson dropped his bat twice in the same at-bat, meaning either he forgot to apply pine tar to it before the game or he spent his entire quarantine practicing the hurdles instead of strengthening his grip. 
  • Mark Melancon was not given the nod to pitch in a save situation because his back locked up during the game, so that’s a concern to keep an eye on for a bullpen that’s already missing Will Smith. 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

There were actually quite a few options today. Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons both knocked in runs in Anaheim’s 4-1 win over Oakland, Matt Kemp picked up Colorado’s first RBI of the season, and Mike Minor had a solid start for Texas. But the title here has to go to Phil Gosselin, who hit two home runs for the Phillies as they picked up a 7-1 win over the Marlins. That doubles the total from his entire Atlanta tenure, as Gosselin homered just once in 70 games with the Braves.

Quote Of The Game: 

“BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN!”

– Skip Caray 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Sean Newcomb’s biggest downfall as a starting pitcher was a lack of control. Hopefully only having to pitch in front of cardboard people (and a few dogs) will him settle down a little bit and help him throw some strikes.

78 thoughts on “Braves Game 2 Recap: Braves 5, Mets 3 (10) — Big Bear Blast (Game Thread)”

  1. JC’d

    Tdsays:

    So how do runs in extra innings count against a reliever’s ERA? When a runner starts on 2nd and scores is that run earned?

    JonathanFsays:

    The run is earned, but not charged to any pitcher.

    I’m half-right. “For the purpose of calculating earned runs, the runner who begins the inning on second will be deemed to reached that spot because of a fielding error. No error, however, shall be charged to the opposing team or to any player. The pitcher would not be charged with an earned run.”

    Acuna for HOFsays:

    JonathanF’s quote of earned run calculations isn’t that clear (though I know he is just the messenger) for situations like today’s 10th in which the pitcher gets two outs with zero or one run scoring. If the initial runner is assumed to have reached via a “fielding error”, than that would make all two-out runs unearned (if you replace the “fielding error” with an out, which is the usual way of dealing with errors. The rule, in my opinion, should make the first run unearned (if it scores as a result of a runner starting on 2nd) but have no effect on subsequent runs.

    I was surprised Jackson pitched the 10th. Any idea if Melancon will be good to go on Sunday?

    I was also surprised to see Adams stay in to hit against a lefty.

    What do I know? Nice win. It didn’t look promising. Does anyone know the win probability in the 9th with two strikes on Ozuna?

    JonathanFsays:

    @38: I see your point, but imagine a base hit in which an overthrow puts the runner on second. or a passed ball moves the runner to second. In that case, the second out wouldn’t have ended the inning.

    JonathanFsays:
    July 25, 2020 at 11:59 pm Edit
    For the win probability, use https://gregstoll.com/~gregstoll/baseball/stats.html#V.1.9.2.1.3.2
    comes up with 3.7%, which seems a little high to me, honestly.

    blazonsays:

    Acuna, less gold more old.
    Luke Jackson, how he gets there we don’t care, just close it as only you can.
    William C. About time, move him UP. Snit’s innate conservatism on display again.

  2. What are y’all’s thoughts on Luke?

  3. Great recap. One of my favorite aspects of this game – – A.J. Minter’s appearance. If he could take a big step forward at age 26, our pen is so much better.

    But I hate the 10th inning rules. Seems to me that fighting, scratching & clawing through an AB to get on base is such a big part of the game. Putting a runner on 2nd as part of the rules just doesn’t feel right – – even though we won!

  4. On the free runner, it’s easiest just to see the run as unearned and leave it at that. That’s basically what it is. Yes, that means a run (albeit unearned) gets charged to the pitcher. Amusingly, Chip was more worried last night about the ramifications of a pitcher getting a loss because of that run scoring, which…yeah, that’s Chip for ya.

    If you’re the type that has to justify the guy’s existence down there at second and why it didn’t affect anything else for earned runs, the best way I can think of is to mentally put him down there on some sort of weird two-base catcher’s interference. Those are unearned if they score but don’t affect the rest of the inning for earned/unearned purposes.

  5. The rule is fine for this year and makes sense. I don’t like it permanently. Maybe institute it in the 13th inning or something.

  6. Luke is probably the 4th or 5th-best reliever on the team. When one pitcher ahead of him has the rona, one pitcher pulled his back, and others are unavailable, then he’s going to pitch in high leverage situations. And since this question continues to only be a topic on Twitter, it’s really because Josh Brown gets these idiots all riled up.

    Luke Jackson is a very good pitcher. The only stat that says otherwise is WHIP. But he gets A LOT of outs, doesn’t give up a lot of runs, stays healthy, can pitch multiple innings, doesn’t cost much, and seems to be a great teammate. He’s the kinda guy that you ride as long as you can ride him, and when he becomes ineffective or become expensive, you stop paying him.

    Gosh, man, it’s so fun to talk about real baseball again.

  7. @6 I’d like to see it permanent but start in the 11th or 12th. Or 13th. Not the 10th. But no one wants to watch infielders pitch the 17th inning, so this rule, in some form, needs to exist.

  8. That’d be a good thought – – have it start later in extra frames.

    I’d mind it less if they put the runner on 1st. Make teams work to get them in scoring position at least.

    But, all in all, I’m not losing any sleep over it. Cheers all.

  9. I think this rule isn’t without it’s charm.

    Absolute no for the playoffs, and I agree it should start at the point when extra innings begin to get ridiculous…I’d stick it in the 12th, probably, but I could see arguments for an inning or two later.

    The best part about it IMO is not necessarily that it directly makes it less likely that a game goes super-long (which it does), but that it eliminates the phenomenon of all the hitters lazily trying to hit a game-winning home run once it gets to extra innings, which is a major cause of unwatchable extra-inning games. With a runner on second, you’re forced to think about driving him in as opposed to going up there with the three windmill swings and out approach which has been a hallmark of most of the 18-inning games I’ve seen recently.

  10. 4 Marlins, who the Braves played last week, are positive for COVID-19.

    This includes Jorge Alfaro, who was in the same catcher’s box as our guys, and near all of our batters.

  11. I genuinely wonder how contagious a catcher with at least a mask on is to hitters that are probably 4-5 feet away at all times, all in open air. It’ll be an interesting case study, if you will, if players from an opposing team become infected when there’s this clear connection to it.

  12. @12

    My guess, from everything I’ve read over the past few months, is: Not exceptionally, but transmission isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

    I would think the umpire would be at greater risk than the batters walking in and out, but he’s wearing a mask, too, so who knows?

  13. I get where Craig is coming from on this, and I genuinely, genuinely sympathize with the players. But there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. One is having this problem, and 29 others largely aren’t. Call it bad luck, or call it lack of institutional control, or call it somewhere in the middle. Everybody is probably going to go through this. We are short both of our catchers, our closer (or whatever he is), our star player missed a bulk of the preparation time, and we’re soldiering on.

    It’s like the Michigan State football situation:

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/29531742/entire-michigan-state-football-team-quarantine

    There are 130 FBS football programs. One is in their situation; 129 are not. I hope the players recover, I hope there are no long-term side effects, and I hope that they don’t pass it on to the vulnerable. But, frankly, more importantly, I hope this isn’t used as a springboard to jack up the college football season.

  14. By the way, Rob, I completely agree with you on Luke Jackson. The endless social-media freakout whenever he so much as starts warming up in the bullpen grows pretty tiresome.

    He is clearly a human roller-coaster ride, but he has really good stuff, and has been successful more often than not. And seems pretty likable, on top of it.

    Do I want him as my closer? I mean, preferably not. He allows too many base runners for that IMO. But he did hold down the fort (albeit while frequently inducing heart attacks) well enough for us to win the division without a real closer for over half the season last year.

    Does Brian Snitker seem to trust him more than I would in your average situation? Yes, he does.

    But when there’s clearly something going on with Melancon and he wasn’t gonna use Greene last night…what, you’d rather have seen Tyler Matzek or Touki Touissant out there with the game on the line in a pressure situation? If so, I’m gonna disagree pretty strongly on that.

  15. I think people think that you’re supposed to run out a closer-quality pitcher in the 8th inning or later come hell or high water every single night. Some of these guys aren’t ready for back-to-back days. One guy has the rona. One guy is injured. And we have one of the deepest bullpens in baseball. If we’re running our 5th-best guy out there, what are other teams doing? The Mets are considered to have a decent bullpen, and Hunter Strickland was their 5th-best option. He’s about the same as Jackson. And you could make the argument that with Minter and O’Day pitching ahead of Jackson yesterday, Jackson might really be our 7th-best option: Smith, Melancon, Greene, Martin, Minter, O’Day, Jackson. I’d be interested to see if a team has a better 7th option than Jackson.

    I think a debate over whether Chris Martin is a late inning reliever is the better debate. He’s given up 11 runs in 18 innings since coming over to Atlanta.

  16. Great recap, and count me in favor of the new extra inning rule. Hope will smith can get jiggy with the team soon.

  17. That’s great news about Will Smith. I’m actually a Luke Jackson fan, but the more reliable arms the better. And Smith is very good.

    Every time y’all talk about freak outs on Braves social media I remind myself how happy I am not to participate.

  18. Luke Jackson, who did make me nervous yesterday, looks like an extra in a country-music video.

    Of course, maybe that’s why he makes me nervous…

  19. Great recap, Alan, but I’m afraid Newk’s control pitching before cutouts is a lot like his control in front of people.

  20. Contreras looks good. Was not expecting a couple pieces of solid contact in his first two ABs.

  21. As Ralph Kiner once said about Dave Kingman, J.D. Davis needs a map & a flashlight to play left field.

    Let’s make this a big inning, Porcello ain’t exactly fooling ’em…

  22. And some of y’all don’t want to watch this? This is fun!

    Ender seemed to think that was gone. I definitely did.

  23. Now, Newk…how about throwing some bloody strikes?

    UPDATE: 2-0 count with the first pitch almost hitting McNeil…sigh.

  24. Brian Snitker himself came out for that come to Jesus meeting with Newk. That’s interesting.

  25. I’ve been on the Sean Newcomb train for a long time, and maybe you give him a couple starts to figure it out, but if he can’t throw strikes, then it’s on to Touki or Wilson or somebody else.

  26. @43 I have long been a supporter as well but if he can’t throw strikes it needs to be back to the pen

  27. I like this Dansby!

    He’s gonna have a big year. And hearing Chipper talk about his swing and how he’s worked with Dansby is exciting. Dansby’s swing resembles Chipper’s RH swing a lot.

  28. I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be, but the cheers after Davis caught Adams’s pop up, I first thought were sarcastic.

  29. Hey! Ronnie finally hit one hard and ended his oh-fer streak!

    Also, the Mets outfielders are really on the struggle bus.

  30. Nice story, ububba. I had no idea. But I think he’s going to need some trance music to play for the Mets outfielders, because they’re in one.

  31. Oh, the humanity! Have mercy and take this poor guy out of the game! Riley almost hit that thing into the freaking upper deck!

  32. #53
    Thnx… no kidding. They’re taking this game off.

    Well, that was one prodigious blast. Can’t remember too many being hit up there.

  33. I like how Chipper was saying that Troy Glaus said he just needs to hit 40 good balls a year. Riley will be a major leaguer for a very long time hitting cement mixers enough to have a job, at minimum.

    Crazy: Troy Glaus hit 47 home runs and had a 1.008 OPS as a 23-year old. Two straight years of 40+ HRs and then never again.

  34. When Jhoulis Chacin gets the win in this game, I point insistently at my “Yes” vote in the poll.

    Also: Jhoulis Chacin is an anagram of Join Chic Hulas.

  35. If Riley becomes Troy Glaus, I’ll take it.

    @61 – Where would we be without his ability to hold onto an 8-run lead and turn it into an 11-run lead?

  36. The Mets defense reminds me of the 2018 Phillies defense, when they were so desperate they put Carlos Santana at 3b and had Rhys Hoskins in the OF.

  37. @61 – That factoid is hilarious, which is why I find it deeply tragic to have to report to you his first name is actually spelled Jhoulys.

  38. What we do with Contreras when d’Arnaud and Flowers come back starts to become something of a question.

  39. The last time the Braves had 11 extra base hits in a game was April 17, 2008 against the Marlins. Chipper had two homers and a double to pace the team to an 8-0 win.

  40. I liked Contreras’ non-verbal communication with Newk. Seems he has a lot of positive energy. Hope he calls a good game.

  41. Interesting that no team has started off 3 and 0, or conversely, 0 and 3. I wonder about the last time that’s happened.

  42. Just watching the video highlights and uh… Austin Riley sure didn’t get cheated, did he?

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