Braves Game 36 Recap: Sweep Caroline! Duvall Hat Trick Powers Braves To 7-5 Win At Fenway

Zero National League players homered three times in a game throughout the first 108 seasons of baseball at Fenway Park.

Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall just did it in a little over 24 hours. 

It doesn’t matter that the Red Sox have decided to pick up high school gym teachers and guys from LA Fitness to pitch this season, it’s still an incredible number. The Braves have hit 55 home runs this season, and eight (14.5%) of them were hit by just Duvall and Ozuna over the last three days. 

Not a bad exclamation point to put on the first sweep in Boston since 2002. 

Positives: 

  • At no point in the game did it feel like the Braves were going to lose. Call it a testament to the offense; call it an indictment on Boston’s pitching. Those circles overlapped a lot during the series. But the deficits of both 3-0 and 5-3 just felt like bumps in the road rather than something that would derail the night. And the best part? Multi-run deficits don’t feel like problems even without Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies in the lineup. Get them back and we might start spotting teams four runs in the first inning. 

(If Robbie Erlin, Josh Tomlin or Tommy Milone are reading this…that was a joke)

  • The entire bullpen was outstanding tonight but nobody had a bigger sequence than Darren O’Day. After Brian Snitker tried to light the rally on fire by letting Erlin face the top of the order three times, Erlin came in with one of the fire extinguishers Sean Newcomb hasn’t broken yet to keep the game close. O’Day retired three out of the four batters he faced and only let one of the inherited runners score. As they might say in Boston, his slider was wicked tonight. 
  • The other big play from the middle innings tonight that will fly under the radar was Freddie Freeman’s fourth inning scoop. Erlin found a way to throw two changeups on one pitch—one to Michael Chavis at the plate and one to Freeman at first. Freeman dug it out though and the ensuing home run by Jackie Bradley Jr. plated one run instead of two. Sometimes it’s all about the little things. 
  • Austin Riley: hotter than a dancing bobcat. 
  • It might be time to let Tyler Matzek start some games. He cemented his status as one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history tonight simply by retiring Alex Verdugo in a high leverage spot. At minimum, Matzek could be a good bulk guy to insert after Erlin just goes through the lineup one time. 
  • The Braves are 10-10 on the road after starting 4-8 away from Truist Park. This team is taking that old “Play .500 on the road and dominate at home” adage very literally. 

Negatives: 

  • Robbie Erlin cannot face the same batter three times in a game. Not tonight, not ever. His stuff barely survives the lineup twice. There was a perfect chance to remove him from the game when he retired the bottom of the lineup for a second time to end the fourth, but Snitker got greedy and tried to steal another inning. In response, the Red Sox stole a run. It didn’t matter because Duvall and Ozuna are just really awesome at hitting baseballs; it still should lead to an Art Howe/Billy Beane scene involving Alex Anthopolous and Snitker. 
  • Ender Inciarte hit the baseball 572 feet tonight. In total. As in, all four of his balls in play combined traveled a shorter distance than two medium depth flyouts. I’m reasonably confident that with a metal bat and a batting practice toss Ozuna could park one 572 feet. I’d like to see Paul Byrd and Kelly Crull try to hunt it down. 
  • The Braves have to face someone other than the Boston Red Sox starting on Friday. 
  • There’s a reasonable chance Erlin could be starting game three of a best-of-three series come the first week of October. Good luck sleeping tonight! 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

Remember #JaceOnBase? Well tonight it was #JaceRoundsTheBases. Peterson hit a pinch-hit two-run home run for the Brewers tonight in an 8-5 victory over the Tigers. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“There are two places in the league — first place and no place.” 

– Tom Seaver 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Enjoy the off day before the penultimate (!) homestand of the season starts.

25 thoughts on “Braves Game 36 Recap: Sweep Caroline! Duvall Hat Trick Powers Braves To 7-5 Win At Fenway”

  1. Prediction: when Chip Caray’s age catches up with the cheesy great-grandpa persona he’s been rocking for the past decade, he will become as beloved an announcer as his own dad and granddad. Even now, I can’t dislike the guy.

  2. @2–you’re spot on! For some reason I’ve found myself liking Chip a lot more than I used. Perhaps it is that he is aging into the persona. It may also be that I have turned into a cheesy grandpa myself.

  3. I remember posting about this almost two years ago. I can’t dislike Chip because it doesn’t seem like he really takes himself seriously. I can get tired of some of his comments, but he is just a guy who enjoys being at the ballpark, enjoys what he’s doing, and is just having fun with us. It’s the same reason most of us like Frenchy, although Jeff has more knowledge to share with listeners.

  4. His colossal screw-up of the open of last night’s broadcast did come across as ridiculously charming. Though he’s certainly annoying to listen to at times, probably his best quality is the ability to laugh at himself when he does something like that.

    I also think extracting Grumpy Joe Simpson from that broadcast team and replacing him with Francoeur has helped a lot, as it’s allowed the broadcast to further lean into that charming, goofy side.

  5. Chip is your screwball uncle who always drops the cranberry sauce on himself at Thanksgiving, but still manages to have enough good qualities (loves your aunt, is a great dad to your cousins) that you can forgive the cringeworthy moments.

  6. I think Chip is as clever as Skip was; the difference is that Skip delivered it so much better. Skip had a dry, winking, I know I’m full of it and I don’t care way of delivering a corny line that Chip just doesn’t. Skip had the confidence of someone who knew he could make people laugh, and Chip just seems a little embarrassed he even thought someone might find his joke funny.

    Skip also touched on some naughtier subjects than Chip, but I’m not going to fault Chip if that’s not his style.

  7. When I get a chance to watch, I still tell Chip to shut up quite often. He does seem like a nice guy though, and I love that ububba once beaned him.

  8. Chip has grown on me because I am just happy we get to watch and have to listen to him. The first few months without baseball were miserable and I think I appreciate him more because at least we are playing games now. Skip was way better and I agree above that having Frenchy is way better than Joe and adds so much more to the telecast

  9. At his best, Chip is tolerable. Kinda like Snitker.

    But having MLB.TV for the past few years, I’ve had the chance to listen to a lot of opposing team broadcasts and let me tell ya, there is way better out there. Mets fans a blessed with a great booth while everything else around them is cursed.

  10. We can do a lot worse than Chip Caray. I find him to be an inaccurate nice guy who has a lot of energy and loves the game. While I’d like for him to not freak out over a fly ball or say the wrong name or something, I also recognize that the former is just simply a weakness on his part and the latter is just the result of someone speaking extemporaneously for 3 hours.

  11. Thanks Alan for picking up my slack.
    As probably the biggest Chip-detractor here, let me just make a couple of observations:
    (1) If the Braves were losing, you’d all be a lot more critical. Winning papers over lots of flaws.
    (2) His self-deprecation is a defense mechanism, not charm. Sure, he has some self-awareness, but the way he pulls out his incompetence is the same way I use it on the golf course. It makes people laugh in order to stop their consternation at my manifest incompetence. But I don’t get paid large sums of money to play golf… or any money for that matter.
    (3) Fully agree that Francoeur improves Chip relative to Simpson. Also fully concur that we could do worse, since Hawk Harrelson is still alive and has no job. But we could do a lot better. We had Boog Sciambi and chased him away, as just one example. (On the other hand, we chased away John Sterling as well, so there’s that.)

  12. I don’t think it really detracts from your larger point, but I don’t know that I’d consider losing Boog Sciambi to a full-time job offer from ESPN which almost certainly came with a substantial pay increase and definitely came with a substantial prestige increase as “chasing him away.”

    If Chip left and the Braves opened up the market for his position, they would almost certainly have the ability to come away with a hire who is overall better at his job than Chip, I would agree with that.

  13. He hasn’t been doing anything yet this year. Someone asked about him during a rain delay call-in show a couple weeks ago, and sounds like he’s still recovering from surgery. Don’t know if they’re hopeful he’ll return this season.

  14. I’m not confident he’ll return at all, since this would be the second straight season he’s missed in its entirety. I would guess, though, that given the pandemic and short season, Don will definitely not be returning this season.

    The Fox Sports South/Southeast crew has shortened their rotation, as well. Joe doesn’t seem like he’ll be doing any TV games (he did a handful last year), and the pre/postgame show seems to be Jerome Jurenovich, Brian Jordan and Nick Green every time, while there was more of a rotation there last year, too.

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