Game 32 Recap: Bats Fall Silent In 4-1 Loss To Phillies

Who knew Zach Eflin was the second coming of Greg Maddux? 

You just have to tip your cap to Eflin today. He had the Braves guessing all day, never even surrendering an extra base hit until Johan Camargo’s sixth inning home run. That might have been the best starting pitching performance the Braves have run into all season, or the worst output from the Atlanta bats if you want to have that outlook. 

But last week the Phillies lost the first two games of a road weekend series against the Braves, then salvaged the finale on Sunday Night Baseball. The Braves will have a chance to turn an identical trick tomorrow night. 

Before the series finale though, it’s time to look back at what was a pretty lackluster game two.

Positives: 

  • Johan Camargo is approaching his at-bats this season like a person on a strict diet 29 out of 30 days a month. Sure, no carbs or dessert all those other days. But that one day? Go nuts and just stuff your calories with 5,000 calories worth of deliciousness. Same principle here. Yes, Johan came into today slashing .172/.214/.333 and riding out an 0-for-16 slump. But that one hit today today? A 442-foot moonshot home run into the second deck. 
  • Tyler Matzek looked great before a monsoon engulfed the mound and cut his outing short. He put out a fire in the fifth inning with a runner in scoring position and came within two pitches of an immaculate inning in the sixth. If Brian Snitker is willing to think a little outside the box, Matzek could be a really good opener to allow Josh Tomlin or Robbie Erlin to go through the lineup twice without having to face the top part of an opposing lineup three times. 
  • Nick Markakis pulled a Hank Aaron today—and by that I mean he broke a record held by Babe Ruth. His 507th career double put him above Ruth on the all-time list. 
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. had by far his best defensive performance in center field of the season. Much like how Blooper stole Bryce Harper’s money last year, Acuña made two great catches to rob Harper of two RBI hits. First he made a leaping catch in the third while backpedaling and then he put on his Superman cape to make a diving snag in the seventh. Just when Ender Inciarte thought he was safe…

Negatives: 

  • Josh Tomlin gave the Braves a perfectly reasonable start until he was asked to to give them an unreasonable one. If the Braves are going to ride out the season essentially using long relievers to fill out the back of the rotation, there has to be some give in how those games are managed. Josh Tomlin was asked to go through the lineup for a third time in a one-run game, and the three-run home run Rhys Hoskins hit in his third time facing him was the decisive blow.

    Four innings of one-run baseball would have been a good outcome for Tomlin, but he couldn’t run the extra mile. Now it’s on Brian Snitker and his staff to make sure he doesn’t have to again; either by using an opener or just setting an 18 plate appearance cap on his outings. After that, he reaches the point of diminishing returns. 
  • Every day the mental gymnastics it takes to talk yourself into Matt Adams gets harder and harder. He did some great things for the 2017 Braves, but right now this lineup is a balloon and he is the pin you stab in it when the party is ending. His OPS is down to .563 after two more strikeouts today. If the Braves are completely set (or stuck) with Inciarte, they could still call up Pache in favor of adams. That gives Snitker the flexibility to DH Markakis or Ozuna on any given night while still having Acuña and Pache’s defense in the outfield.
  • It wasn’t even close to the reason the Braves lost but a passed ball from Tyler Flowers cost the Braves an early run. The pitch wasn’t even in the dirt, but it popped out of Tyler’s glove to give Andrew McCutchen second base and he came around to score after two flyouts. 
  • The bats were awful. It’s hard to really sugarcoat how rough it was. Of course Eflin deserves a ton of credit for his performance but 5-for-31 at the plate against Eflin and a pair of relievers won’t cut it. For the whole series the Braves have scored four earned runs in 20 innings, and three of them came on solo home runs. This lineup needs to put a rally together tomorrow to give Huascar Ynoa a chance at a win.  
  • In the big picture the Braves are still in good shape, but there’s something to be said about letting the Phillies gain some traction. You never want to let a divisional rival up off the mat, and the Braves have let the Phillies beat them three times in a row now dating back to last weekend. Who knows what a series sweep over the Braves this weekend could springboard the Phillies to. That’s the situation the Braves are staring down tomorrow night. 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

It’s a little known fact, but Victor Caritini was originally drafted by the Braves. He was traded to the Cubs at the 2014 deadline…for Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell. Yikes. Caritini didn’t get a hit today, but he guided Yu Darvish to six innings of shutout baseball behind the plate in Chicago’s 3-0 win over Cincinnati. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“May I remind you that the primary objective is to hit the ball?” 

– Dmitri Petrovich, Backyard Baseball 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Get a lead. The Phillies have scored first in eight out nine games against the Braves. Frankly, the Braves are lucky they are only down 5-4 in the season series. This offense has to find a way to get an early lead and put some pressure on the Phillies before it’s too late.

22 thoughts on “Game 32 Recap: Bats Fall Silent In 4-1 Loss To Phillies”

  1. At least he can get us 5 innings (29.1 IP in 6 GS this year). Our offense is good enough to outscore most teams as long as it’s not over before it starts. And if you can basically get a guy for free, go for it.

    I agree with others that we definitely need another starter though.

  2. Tommy Milone is about as exciting as cottage cheese for lunch. He has been more or less exactly replacement level in each of the last five seasons. That can’t be the only guy we add.

    Also, coop, sending prayers your way for you and your wife.

  3. @3 I would say to give him three or four starts to see if he turns back into a pumpkin. And if he does, go back to one of these losers at the alternate site.

  4. It’s pretty incredible that we traded for and drafted fittyleven pitching prospects but we’re still just trying to get dudes who will get us to the fifth inning while having a bullpen that makes the equivalent of the GDP of Kazakhstan.

  5. Meh, I’m bored by trades with Baltimore — see Surhoff, Gausman. I guess at this point if Milone is replacement level than that’s certainly an upgrade from Toussaint, Wright, Wilson, Erlin, etc.

  6. I get this is a strange season, but trying to build a house with particle board from Dollar General isn’t going to work.

  7. If we’re acquiring two starters, it’s OK for Milone to be the second one. If he’s all we get, though, it’s not good enough.

  8. Also, besides Atlanta, is there a single other team in the NL East that should be buying?

  9. Triple post: To guide your thought process on who is a seller, see here that 15-17 Milwaukee is interested in dealing off their best player:

    There are 17 teams at .500 or below.

  10. Given that most teams will make the playoffs this year, I’d think that most teams should be buying. The tough thing is, no one is going to want to spend much prospect capital on a rental, which makes selling difficult — it sounds like that’s one reason Clevinger is still in Cleveland. The Phillies and Nats should both be buying. But given that 21 teams in baseball are within five games of first place, and competing for 16 playoff slots… the real question is, other than the Pirates and Red Sox and Royals and Angels, who shouldn’t be buying?

    UPDATE: Stop the presses, Mitch Moreland is off the board.

  11. Pittsburgh, Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, Texas, the Angels, Kansas City, Arizona, Detroit and San Francisco should all absolutely be selling. The Dodgers, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Cleveland, Houston, the Yankees, Minnesota, both Chicago teams, Atlanta, San Diego and Toronto should all absolutely be buying. Everyone else you could argue either way, I think. (Philadelphia was absolutely right to do what they already did in regard to the bullpen, but I think you could go either way as to whether they should do anything else.)

  12. If we didn’t give up much (i.e. whoever the PTBL are that are not on 60-man only amount to a couple of buckets of balls) then Milone is not a horrible acquisition, but he is not adequate or any kind of difference maker. Something like working Milone and then Tomlin in the same game might make up one decent start. Both Tomlin and Milone would be much better served as long relievers who come in after some fireballer flames out.

    I’m still on Alex Cobb or Marco Gonzales. Dylan Bundy might be a decent risk too. This year and his last year of control (next year – age 28) should theoretically be Bundy’s best career years.

  13. The O’s/Milone deal is fine, IMO. Eat innings & hopefully score some runs for him. Unless he shows something we haven’t already seen, don’t let him start a playoff game. This guy’s been on 8 teams in 10 years for a reason.

    But yes, acquiring a better, non-slop-tossing starter would be possible cause for celebration.

    Although they seem to still need some pitching, the Padres are really going for it. Also, the White Sox are reportedly kicking the tires on a Clevinger deal.

    Trendy Team Alert: This year has been weird enough, so a Padres/White Sox October matchup shouldn’t surprise anybody.

  14. Milone seems to be a left-handed Tomlin.
    His name backwards almost reads Tomlin actually. Well, almost.

  15. In defense of the Milone deal, we didn’t even have 5 starters much less 5 good ones. At least we now have 5 (Fried, Anderson, Erlin, Tomlin, Milone).

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