Remember the Braves-Nationals game on June 21st of last season? No? You’re not neck deep in random memories of old games? Let me refresh your memory.
It was Dallas Keuchel’s first start as a Brave, and the Braves jumped out to a 3-0 lead early against Stephen Strasburg. But Ozzie Albies made a brutal throwing error to start a Washington rally, and the Nationals used the opening to launch a 4-3 comeback win. There was a lot of soft contact that managed to fall in for the Nationals, and you went to bed that night feeling frustrated about an annoying loss.
You just watched the 2020 version of that. The venue was different and there were a few more cardboard cutouts this time around, but it was the same baseball game.
If for some reason you want to spend more time thinking about that pebble-in-your-shoe of a baseball game, let’s get into it.
- It’s hilarious how effortless Ronald Acuña Jr. makes leading off the game look. It’s like waking up at 6:30 AM and being just as productive with your work as you normally are at noon. He doesn’t need no stinkin’ coffee and he definitely doesn’t hit snooze on the alarm clock. Ronald shows up and just starts sprinting out of the blocks. He set the Atlanta Braves record for lead-off home runs tonight, and 36 away from breaking Craig Biggio’s National League record. I’ll conservatively say he breaks it by April of next season. May at the latest.
- The Braves gave themselves a chance in this game with a lot of good plate appearances early. Erick Fedde faced 20 batters, and eight of them worked the count full. He went to five straight full counts between the end of the second and start of the third, and he was just desperate to get ahead in the count by the time Travis d’Arnaud came up to the plate. Travis took advantage by ambushing a hanging breaking ball on the first pitch for a two-run home run. The approach at plate in the early innings was the best sign for the offense.
- Nobody expects Grant Dayton to throw two scoreless innings in a high leverage situation, but it’s still nice to have that pop up. Like finding a $10 bill on the street or waking up on Labor Day and remembering you have the day off. Dayton is the quietest member of the bullpen; he just comes in usually in underappreciated spots and has pitched to a 2.45 ERA for the year.
- The Phillies lost too, so the division lead didn’t shrink. It is officially #ScoreboardWatchingSeason.
- Charlie Culberson didn’t pitch tonight. Progress!
- I guess it kind of has to start with Johan Camargo’s error. It directly led to a Washington run and probably cost Fried a chance to work what would end up being the decisive sixth inning. You never lose a game on one play, but oh boy was that one ugly, ugly play. He completely rushed a flip to second base when he had plenty of time with a slow runner coming up the first base line. The pivot point of the night was right there.
It might be time to skip one Fried turn in the rotation; he clearly needs a breather from carrying the staff all season and his next start would come against this same opposition anyway. There’s enough of a cushion in the playoff race to give up one start for the health of your ace.
- I’m not going to have the Snitker conversation because I picked that bone pretty clean last night, but he made the same mistake again. Chad Sobotka was brought into a 5-4 game with all of the high leverage arms available, and a AAAA pitcher facing the middle of the lineup went exactly as well as you would expect it to.
- Nick Markakis is 0-for-19 in the last five days with seven strikeouts. He could probably do with an off day tomorrow, especially against a tough left-hander like Patrick Corbin
- Maybe it’s a different game if Marcell Ozuna doesn’t swing through three straight sliders to strike out from a 2-0 count with a big chance to extend the lead in the fourth? Maybe it all goes the same way anyway? Maybe I’m just grasping at straws? Probably all of the above.
- Brock Holt came into this series with a .266 (!!) OPS. So of course he went 4-for-5 tonight with two doubles. I’m still waiting for Ken Rosenthal to confirm this, but I heard Dave Martinez is going to find two guys in The Battery who haven’t swung a bat since high school to fill out his lineup tomorrow, and both will pick up RBI hits.
- RIP Freddie Freeman’s hit streak: August 14th, 2020 — September 5th, 2020.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Speaking of players having really rough seasons who broke out today, Justin Upton and his season slash line of .159/.235//307 picked up three hits and three RBIs to help the Angels earn a wild 10-9 victory over the Astros.
Quote Of The Game:
“It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again.”
– Yogi Berra
Find a way to win the game. It sounds really basic, but losing three out of four at home to this team—especially without a healthy Juan Soto—would be really brutal. Get it done.