Braves Game 9 Recap: Braves Chase Wacha Early, Win 7-1

As far as two baseball games go, Friday’s Braves win over the Mets was about as far apart as possible from Saturday’s. After winning an 11-10 game that had every type of shenanigans you can think of involved, the Braves took a gigantic deep breath and settled into a routine 7-1 win.

That game was almost too normal. In just over a week the Braves have already lost a 1-0 game on a home run by a guy who hadn’t played in two years, won a game after being down to their final strike, won a 14-1 game, lost a 14-5 game, won a game they trailed 8-2 and DFA’d one of the supposed keys to the starting rotation.

All of that in eight games is a ton, so it was nice to see game nine unfold as an easily digestible contest that felt like it was over by the second inning.

Positives:

  • Make it four wins in a row for the Braves and six out of eight since the Opening Day loss. And at worst, the Braves will go 2-1 in the non-Soroka/Fried part of this turn through the rotation.
  • You can step down from your panic stations and cancel that trip to alert the church elders of the impending apocalypse. Ronald Acuña Jr. is on the board with his first home run and first two RBIs of the season. 
  • Touki Toussaint did at least enough to earn another start. It wasn’t perfect, but it was never going to be. His splitter was really hot, his fastball location was really not. He used his curveball really well, but in the fourth inning his command really fell. Pretty typical stuff for a young starter. But the positive is he allowed two baserunners in the third and three in the fourth, but he held his nerve both times. The Mets easily could’ve climbed back into the game with either of those chances, but Toussaint shut them down.
  • Five more innings of one-run baseball from the bullpen. They’re pitching so well they’ve started adding obstacles just for a challenge. A.J. Minter let Robinson Cano hit an inside-the-park ground rule double in the eighth and still pitched a scoreless frame. I’d like to think he did that just because he can.
  • Ozzie Albies hit an absolutely hilarious RBI single in the second. Cano decided the fastest way to get from point A to point B was to zig-zag wildly away from the ball and let what should’ve been an out drop in for a blooper and a run. A play like that makes you really appreciate Ron Washington.
  • Johan Camargo was a vacuum cleaner at third. He’s still struggling a lot at the plate, but the defense hasn’t skipped a beat. The pick he made on the final out of the fifth inning was enough to shut down the only real chance New York had against the bullpen.
  • Welcome back to the broadcast booth, Jeff Francoeur!

Negatives:

  • Uh, I’m supposed to have something here, but that was probably the cleanest game the Braves have played all year. Even the 14-1 win last Sunday had obvious negatives with Sean Newcomb’s outing. Nothing jumped out at me as negative tonight. Eight out of nine starters got on base, the pitchers only allowed one extra base hit all night, and there were no errors in the field. I guess Johan Camargo’s strikeout woes? He picked up two more Ks and his average is down to .167 on the season. But even that feels like nit-picking with how well he played on defense.

Former Brave Of The Day:

Matt Kemp got one up in the thin air and hit a home run out of Coors Field off Cal Quantrill. Kemp is hitting .333 on the young season so far if you can believe that.

Quote Of The Game:

“That was easy.”

– Staples

Tomorrow’s Goal:

It’s all set up for Kyle Wright to pick up his first career win. He’s facing a reeling opponent on his home mound and a pitcher with even less experience than him is toeing the rubber on the other side. Make it happen, Kyle.

86 thoughts on “Braves Game 9 Recap: Braves Chase Wacha Early, Win 7-1”

  1. Thank you, Alan. I really enjoy the positives-negatives style.

    When asked how concerned they are from 1-10 about RAJ, EOF said zero and Moylan said minus 39 (or something like that). Good to see him come around.
    Encouraging outing by Touki.
    And how about Minter?

  2. @1
    These were my thoughts watching Touki yesterday but my words were much less scouty. Touki’s fastball plays way up when he throws offspeed the majority of the time.

  3. On Minter, he looks great and the fastball is the key.

    On an Ender note, AA should’ve traded him when he had the chance and now we’re about to have a very expensive defensive replacement.

    #FreePache

  4. I know I’m labeled an Ender hater because I’ve fake traded him a billion times, but it’s never been about hating him (that would be silly. I don’t know him), but it’s just that his outlier skill, defense, isn’t grading out elite anymore.

    That shouldn’t be surprising. He’s 29 & legs start to slow w/ age, but early Statcast numbers are way ugly. Defense is grading out below average, exit velo, bottom 1%, hard hit, bottom 2%, offensive numbers across board are putrid. Now, there’s a prospect that likely could outproduce Ender at 6% of the cost. Braves owe Ender 9MM in 2021.

    If there was a team out there that would take him this year for very little, I’d make that trade now. If the defense goes, he has no skill that will provide value to this team and that 9 MM will be money eaten for a backup outfielder. #FreePache

  5. Ender doesn’t really have much in the way of trade value. Otherwise the Braves would’ve traded him before now. They should have swapped him away two or three years ago, when Ronald was on the cusp of the majors. As it is, he likely has no surplus value above the dollar value of his contract. And Folty clearly has zero trade value right now, as 29 teams already said “no thanks.” The Braves know his medicals better than anyone, and if there’s a way to get him back up to weight, and rediscover his velocity, that’s probably going to have to happen in Atlanta.

    Meanwhile, Ender is a very nice defensive caddy. I’m not buying that Ender has negative defensive value, as that homer-saving catch tells my lyin’ eyes that he’s still a shutdown glove man. Since I don’t think we could get much of anything back for him, and it’s clear that roster depth is the single most important X factor in this weird season when anyone could go out at any time (whether it’s COVID or it’s just an injury caused by one of the longest offseasons in baseball history)… I think we might as well just hang onto him.

  6. Snowshine said late in the last thread that we didn’t need to trade for starting pitching, that Touki and Wright had the potential to become great.

    First of all, color me skeptical. Both have been around for awhile and neither have come anywhere close to taking the next step. One decent four-inning start from Touki does not change all of that.

    Second, that seems like a lot to dump on their shoulders even if they are about to turn the corner. To entrust both of them with potential playoff starts is just a bit rich for my tastes. I don’t think this team is gonna win anything of note with the current rotation.

    We should wait until closer to the trade deadline to see how it plays out (and to see if there’s even gonna be a postseason…don’t really wanna give something up just to have the season canceled the next day) but the long and the short of it is that yes, we do need to trade for starting pitching. It’s quite possibly a make-or-break need, in fact.

  7. Touki has significantly farther to go than Wright. I could squint and see a scenario where you get 3 starts out of Soroka and Fried in a 5-game series, and then some piggybacking/hoping for the best situation between Newk, Touki, and Wright for the remaining 2 games. Piggybacking Touki and Newk is probably the best course of action. But more likely, I think they will need to trade for someone if they want to have a legitimate 3rd starter.

    At this point, are we to assume that Cole Hamels is not an option?

  8. Most pitchers (non Soroka division) need 100-200 innings in the show to find out how to best harness their stuff. Neither of Touki or Wright have had a regular role so far in the majors and neither currently has enough experience to be counted on. The trade deadline is 29 days away — let’s give each of them 5-6 more starts and see what develops. Go back to the late 2018 threads and see what people were saying about Fried.

  9. @11

    I honestly forget about Cole Hamels. If he can make it back for September, sure. I don’t get the feeling anyone is particularly optimistic about that happening, though.

  10. Not too many teams are going to be selling this season.

    Someone (maybe it was you Rob) said Hamels is the new Mike Hampton. Don’t count on him for anything.

    Our best hope is for the young guys to step up like Soroka and Fried did last year.

  11. Let Ender show Pache the ropes, explain how to play all the different ballparks, how to comport himself, etc. You couldn’t ask for a better mentor.

  12. I agree with AAR. To my eyes Inciarte hasn’t looked bad defensively, other than maybe one misplay.

  13. I hope it’s a long day. Could be a short one.

    Then again, Kyle may have just been building the drama. Mets should have listened to what Mac said about hope.

    Runs, please.

  14. I hope he’s ok.

  15. Not sure if this has been mentioned on the broadcast, but dang.

  16. The Houdini references are apt. I’ve also had an image of the Great Wallenda teetering on the high wire. So far he’s leaned right and left without a tumble into the gorge. But I don’t think I can watch any more of him on the wire.

  17. Probably another case of Sunday ATL matinee flu…but how can you let him come back to the team in this environment?

  18. Three easy innings down, six to go. Let’s score a dozen, Braves.

    Good start, Adam.

    Woo! Austin!

    Good defense, Mets. Make them pay, Ronnie.

    That’s one. Give them heck, Dansby.

  19. A shift that gives you no chance to turn a double play even on a double play ball is…well, let’s just say a questionable choice.

    Also, Wright has been dancing through raindrops in ridiculous fashion here. I’m inclined to suggest he might want to purchase a lottery ticket on his way home, but he has admittedly made several really good pitches when he’s had to.

  20. Three and a third seems to be as much as we get from our 3-4-5 starters. Bail us out, Tyler.

    Agree on the good hook.

    Great play, Johan.

  21. I checked the Mets’ positioning and replayed the Freeman play a few times. Ball was hit almost equidistant between Rosario and Cano — maybe three feet closer to Rosario. Cano made no move on the ball despite having no other function on the play.

  22. Props to Blooper. He’s trying very hard despite the lack of a crowd and gets himself on camera at least five times a game doing something amusing.

  23. Yoenis Cespedes didn’t report to Truist Park for today’s game and the Mets don’t know where he is, apparently.

  24. It’s really tough to even make this stuff up. This last week-plus of games with them has been absolutely peak Mets.

  25. Welp

  26. Boy, Melancan gets it done more often than not, but rarely a clean inning. He doesn’t seem to trust his stuff in the zone.

  27. This umpire’s had a very good game calling balls and strikes BTW.

    UPDATE: The umpire is Alan Porter, for the record.

  28. What a weird year. I’m loving this season so far but it’s a strange feeling when the game is over and then having to wonder if it’s the last game for eight or nine months.

  29. Cespedes opted out. His agent called the Mets towards the end of the game to let them know. He checked out of the hotel and left town. Sounds like a class act.

  30. From yesterday.

    Ozzie needs a month’s rest on the DL or whatever it’s called. If you own a superstar known to throw his small body all over the place and he starts giving you clear indications it’s hurting and he can’t hit a lick don’t mess with this day at a time nonsense.

    Luke. Jackson is NOT a long relief pitcher as he was so used yesterday. Bringing him on in the third inning is absurd – like asking Gordon Ramsey to peel the potatoes. Luke needs the pressure of the game on the line, late. His pulse races, his sinews stiffen, his frontal lobe goes into full focus, his hair stiffens, the sweat begins to pour off – he is ready.

    The Closer. ‘Come for me my Maleconly Baby.’

  31. Yoenis Cespedes has played for the New York Mets since 2015. First, they traded Michael Fulmer for the privilege of getting Cespedes for August and September of 2015 — Fulmer was the Rookie of the Year in 2016, but he missed all of 2019 with Tommy John surgery and since 2017, he’s pitched just under 300 total innings with an ERA+ of 104. Meanwhile, Cespedes hit 17 homers and was unconscious down the stretch, propelling the Mets to their fifth-ever NL championship and first World Series appearance since 2000. Great trade.

    Then the Mets re-signed him to a three-year, $75 million contract. He was really good again in 2016, and got himself named to the All-Star team.

    At that point, the Mets decided to tear up the contract. And that was where it all went to hell. They gave him four years, $110 million, and his injury history at that point looks just like Michael Fulmer: he played a little in 2017 and 2018, missed all of 2019, and now it looks like he’ll be out for the rest of this year too. He’s given the Mets 512 total plate appearances since they inked that $110 million contract in November 2016.

    Remember the injury that held him out all last year? He caught a wild boar in a trap at his ranch and suffered multiple ankle franctures. The Mets were so incensed by the way he got hurt that they filed a grievance, and the two sides mutually agreed to restructure the contract so the Mets effectively clawed back about $25 million of the $110 that they owed him.

    What a comic disaster.

  32. I’d trust Gordon Ramsay with the potatoes more than I’d trust Luke Jackson with the bases loaded.

  33. Maybe Cespedes has found a way to get back into Cuba and didn’t want to wait until the Marlins series?

  34. @78 – You’ll never find a better example of “make the trade, but be careful with the long-term extension.” They’d have even salvaged it had they just stuck to the short-term extension, or they’d have at least been out from under it before it got into cosmic joke territory. But alas, they’re the Mets.

  35. On today’s episode of America’s favorite game show, “Fun with Relief Wins,” Tyler Matzek gets the W after going two innings and allowing two hits in relief of Wright.

    In a situation where the starter would be the pitcher of record but doesn’t go five innings, and his team never gives up the lead, the official scorer is directed to choose the relief pitcher he or she thinks had the most to do with the team winning the game. This basically devolves, though, into a game of “choose the first pitcher after the starter left who didn’t stink up the place.”

    Case in point, Matzek was next in line after Wright and pitched pretty well. Therefore, he got the win.

    However, if you’re giving it to the pitcher who had the most to do with the team winning the game, I would find it difficult to ignore the fact that A.J. Minter induced the double-play grounder that was probably the most important play of the game in terms of deciding the winner and loser.

    In any case, here’s a fun fact: the starting pitcher has tallied the win for us precisely once out of seven team wins. That was Max Fried on Thursday night. This is abnormal, but it will become much less so if no one except Fried and Soroka ever manages to go five innings.

  36. Why all the concern over the depth of the rotation? Wright and Touki each tossed shutouts in the last two games. Sure, they may not have gone as deep as you’d like, but hey, this is 2020 after all.
    Seriously, although Wright has good stuff and made some great itches, I think we can all agree that five hits and four walks in three and a third will probably never again yield a scoreless outing. JonathanF, has a starting pitcher ever had that line?

  37. Well, that was your basic 10-hit/5-walk shutout.

    Truly, that’s hard to accomplish. And you’ll rarely see a pitcher dance thru raindrops the way Wright did in the first few innings. I mean, if he’d have given up a grand slam there, you woulda thought: Eh, he kinda deserved that.

    Coming into the past 2 games with some trepidation, I find it kinda mind-boggling that Wright & Touki went 8 combined IP w/o giving up a run. A little lucky & slightly amazing (sorry, Mets).

    So… beat deGrom 2-1 & sweep these guys while they’re still teetering.

    Re: Cespedes
    When it came big-contract time with the Mets a few years ago, it was quite a conversation around here. Mets fans were whining about Fred Wilpon (aka Fred Coupon) being cheap & not wanting to sign this “obviously vital” player that definitely carried them to a pennant in 2015. Meanwhile, anyone who’d been around Cespedes knew that he was a wild card at best. Despite his raging, raw talent, other teams (Oak, Bos, Det) didn’t seem to mind getting rid of him rather quickly.

    There were all kinds of stories about him, the nicest being that, despite being on the DL or dinked up to where he couldn’t play, he was still golfing every morning on Long Island’s North Shore. The club wasn’t so crazy about that.

    Another was that, despite a cannon for an arm, he refused to play CF anymore (or even RF) after signing his deal. While not playing CF made him less valuable to the team, he wanted to protect his legs. OK, so… he’s injury-prone… and he won’t play the position the Mets thought they signed him to play. By the time the crazy wild-boar story broke, believe it or not, it wasn’t that big of a surprise.

    I’m guessing that his awful start (161/235/387 w/ 15 Ks in 34 PA) may have something to do with his opt-out decision, but who knows? He’s been quite the enigma in Flushing. With him, it just never ends.

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