I don’t know where all you people have been. I’ve been diligently reporting on every Wednesday game, although I had to make everything up and then post it on a website in a parallel universe. You folks failed to follow me, and I’m really a little angry about it. So I came back, even though the Braves were undefeated in my personal fantasyland, as they always are. Meanwhile, back here on Earth, the only constant is that the Mets other than deGrom make me laugh and the Marlins, not content with ruining baseball for their city, are trying to ruin it for everyone.
I have used my time off on this earthly plane productively by updating my Retrosheet database and writing hooks to answer almost any “when was the last time” question anybody might have. It was the source of my post on the best and worst 66 day performances by batters and my comment on the last time the Braves had 11 extra base hits. The Atlanta Braves record for extra base hits, by the way, is 12, set in this game, in which they scored 14 runs against the champs-to-be Red Sox. I remind everyone that Atlanta finished third that year, though to be fair, they were playing Scott Thorman at 1st, which makes it pretty hard to achieve anything. I’ll be trying to sprinkle some of these factoids into recaps. We’ll see how it goes. Anybody got a question?
So anyway, the Braves played the two earlier games in this series at Tropicana Field. Tropicana (the orange juice, not the casinos) is owned by Pepsi, so it creates a natural rivalry with the city that Coke built. The alltime series favors the Braves 21-13, but the Braves won 8 of the first 9 meetings, so it’s been even since the the Rays were exorcised in 2007. The series shifted to Truist Park, which for now has the lowest average attendance over its whole history compared with any other major league park: 0. (That figure will soon be tied by the Buffarontonians.)
My man Mike Soroka took the bump; he’s mine because I’m the only Braves Journal reader who attended his MLB debut at CitiField. Soroka is flat out good at his job. He survived a walk and a single in the first, but then the outs just started to pile up. A gift run was bestowed by newest Brave Travis d’Arnaud on a wild throw down to third (Travis’ brother still holds the Braves record for errors by a d’Arnaud, with 2.), but there was never any serious thought that Soroka was anything but in control. He left after 5 1/3; four scattered singles. But he left two men on, and O’Day came in and it was not his O’Night. He Gryboed both in and gave up one of his own.
On the other side, Charlie Morton got the start and survived a first inning that saw RAJ thrown out at the plate by a pretty good margin on a Freeman double. In his second confrontation with those two, a single and homer led to a 2-0 lead, squandered by d’Arnaud and O’Day (see above), but then reclaimed in the bottom of the 6th on hits from d’Arnaud, Swanson, Albies and Freddie.
In the 7th, the Braves managed not to score on back-to-back doubles by Ozuna and Camargo, but they both scored eventually an a d’Arnaud sac fly and an error by Adames. At that point the game slowed to a crawl. Everybody got bored and nobody scored. Melancon showed up and pitched the 9th. We won 7-4.
I still defend my position that the win in baseball is fairly meaningless. Of the Braves three wins this season, one went to Jhoulys Chacin who entered a game with an eight run lead, and another went to a guy who came in with a one-run lead and left two runs behind. It’s a stupid stat, and no more necessary than the game-winning-RBI, which died a merciful quick death. Not to mention that no one will ever get anywhere near Cy Young’s total, or even 300 games, ever again. Retire the stat. #ThingsIWantThatWillNeverHappen
Playing 0.500 ball. Fourth game against the Rays tomorrow.