It’s Only One Game, (W)Right? Dodgers Wake Up, 15-3

OK… it’s not exactly “Separated at Birth,” but, like Guy Fawkes, he seems to be the eventual cause of a lot of fireworks by his enemies.  And he was pretty much drawn and quartered tonight.

As former Braves Journal contributor (and maybe he’s a contributor still under some other name for all I know) JC Bradbury tweeted last night:

I posted a similar sentiment last night mere seconds before Seagar’s 3 run homer and instantly regretted it.  I know… nobody likes a Cassandra.  But it’s not like I’m predicting doom.  I’m just reminding people that doom is always right around the corner.

After a major military victory, the triumphant military generals were paraded through the streets to the roars of the masses. The ceremonial procession could span the course of a day with the military leader riding in a chariot drawn by four horses. There was not a more coveted honor. The general was idolized, viewed as divine by his troops and the public alike. But riding in the same chariot, standing just behind the worshipped general, was a slave. The slave’s sole responsibility for the entirety of the procession was to whisper in the general’s ear continuously, “Respice post te. Hominem te esse memento. Memento mori!” [Look behind. Remember thou art mortal. Remember you must die!] The slave served to remind the victor at the peak of glory, this god-like adoration would soon end, while the truth of his mortality remained.

https://dailystoic.com/history-of-memento-mori/

And that’s after you actually win something.  Until the end of this series, the Braves have won nothing but an Eastern Division NL title.  I play a lot of golf.  The old quote is that golf doesn’t build character – it reveals character.  So does watching the Braves.  And I love it.  I don’t like getting killed like we did tonight, but it does make the good stuff better. And I’m still thinking we can do this.

Anyway, as you no doubt know by now, this did not start well.  A great play by Camargo was just a hair late (and required replay to overturn) followed by a double from Seagar made it 1-0 after two pitches and a two-out double from their Fresh Prince made it 2-0.  A walk and a 3 run homer by Joc Pederson made it 5-0.  On the next pitch, a homer by Edwin Rios made it 6-0. Another walk and Kyle was done.  I’m not sure I understand that decision.  If your goal is to save your bullpen then you ought to save your bullpen and let Wright take one for the team.  (It makes sense if you think you want to use him later in the series.  Do you?)  Dayton came on and promptly gave up a walk and single to plate another run.  A HBP and a grand slam by Muncy made it 11-0.  Sounds familiar, right?  I did a game last year that was 10-0 after one inning.  Apparently God decided that wasn’t enough.

The punishment continued.  Dayton continued, and was horrible.  15-0.  He was replaced by Ynoa.  Once Bryse Wilson was announced as the starter tomorrow, Ynoa was presumably the least-cost way to rack up some innings.  He pitched four great innings, but maybe the Dodgers were just tired from circling the bases.

Later highlights: Cristian Pache hit his first MLB homer, off Urías, who otherwise was a heap of trouble.  Good job, kid.  Freddie and d’Arnaud took early seats on the bench, appropriately in both cases. Acuña followed shortly thereafter. It’s sad when your highlights are people getting some rest. Everybody coasted after Pache’s homer until the 9th when Flowers and Camargo knocked in a couple of runs (momentum!), and the scoring stopped at 15-3.

So welcome to 2020. I recapped a game this year in which the Braves scored 29 and won by 20, and now I’m recapping a game in which they gave up 15 and lost by 12. Unlike last year when we got shellacked, there’s not only a tomorrow — we’re still ahead. We got this. I’ll be back to recap Game 2 of the World Series. See you then.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

55 thoughts on “It’s Only One Game, (W)Right? Dodgers Wake Up, 15-3”

  1. On the Atlanta sports “curse” and all of that, which now apparently causes people to think we’ve already lost series we’re currently winning:

    I just can’t anymore with the “but Atlanta is a national laughingstock again!!! I just want to not be a laughingstock!!!” folks. I just don’t give a shit anymore. I really don’t. Part of it may be that I consider the Atlanta United championship a couple years ago to be a legitimate Atlanta sports championship, and so I’m just over all of this silly freaking out about the “curse” and how the nation perceives us crap. I wish I could give that to those of you who consider their last five Atlanta sports playoff moments to be Super Bowl LI, the Georgia-Alabama College Football National Championship, the Falcons getting stuck inside the 10 in Philly and the Braves last two playoff losses, one of which had us giving up 10 runs in the first inning of a winner-take-all game. But I can’t. (I’m not a Georgia fan BTW, but I am a Tennessee fan…so I’m not exactly rolling in recent college football trophies, either. And the basketball team provided an extra couple of gut punches in the NCAA Tournament over the last few years that you Georgia folks didn’t have to endure.)

    I can tell you that, if we go onto win this series (in which we’re still up 2-1, as a reminder…if you wanna look at it as 2-to-1.5 because Bryse Wilson is pitching tomorrow, you do you, I guess), we’ll be a laughingstock with a National League pennant. I’ll take that, and you should too.

  2. Also, if you’re just like super-duper convinced Kershaw is actually gonna pitch tomorrow, you go ahead with that. I’m certainly not. Dave Roberts called it a “likely possibility” after yesterday’s game, which is certainly confidence-inspiring language for Dodger fans, I’m sure.

  3. One bad game, really one horrific inning, isn’t going to make me concede defeat or abandon all hope. Still winning the series, still the only team to beat LA this postseason. If the Braves are a laughingstock, what does that make the other 13 teams who didn’t make it this far? I believe in this team. Let’s get em tomorrow.

  4. Snitker’s superpower — his literal superpower — is getting his guys to play hard for him. That is the thing he has that Fredi Gonzalez did not have.

    There is a possibility that we lose the next three games. There is also a possibility that we do not. Tonight’s trainwreck notwithstanding, the likelihood of the latter is far greater than the likelihood of the former.

    But I’m afraid we’re going to need a little something extra. We’re going to need to pull out all the stops. When the going gets tough…

    Braves Journal needs to play Phil Collins.

  5. Don’t take a look at game 3 now
    It’s just an empty space
    LA scoring 15 again is against all odds
    Let’s punch Kershaw in the face

  6. It blows my mind the Braves tied(?) a first inning playoff record of ten runs just last year, and then topped it with an 11-run meltdown the following postseason.

  7. Damn! We went to Phil Collins quick.

    Honestly, I think last night was a good thing. We rested most of our pen that matters. If you’re going to take a loss, that’s the best way to do it.

    I feel odd saying this, but I’d start Markakis over Camargo. Your offense doesn’t change and maybe even he works a count. I’d start Culberson over Camargo (put him in left)

  8. I like this. But I genuinely wonder if Wilson will get through 3.

  9. My biggest lineup concern is anything that would cause Snit to deploy Riley in left. He’s a Klesko out there and committed a misplay last night that led to runs scoring. Of course, extra runs didn’t matter last night. Next time we may not be so lucky.

  10. I believe the chances of us getting 4 to 5 good innings out of Wilson are better than the chances of getting 4 to 5 good innings out of Wright going forward (2 or less runs). I think we will be walking a tight rope with Wilson, but he has the stuff to get a few k’s when his back is against the wall. If Kershaw is not at 100% and he either falters or we get to their bullpen early, I like our chances.

  11. I trust Wright more than Wilson. Still, there may be a pitcher in there, in both cases. But he’s in Toussaint territory for me — I’ve seen things I like, just not often enough, and if they ever succeed it may take a change of scenery.

  12. Honestly, Wright just had a bad night against one of the best offensive teams in all of baseball. He was trying to nibble at the edges and was not hitting his spots, and on the few times he did, he was not getting the call by the ump (which you typically don’t when you have not established command of the strike zone.) I can’t say that I have given up on him anymore than I could earlier say, “We have another ace!” Neither is true, but he is as serviceable as Wilson, et al. I mean, no one wants to see what happened last night happen again, but some nights it all just falls apart. Could anyone have guessed that Folty would melt down in the 1st inning of game 5 after his masterful performance earlier in the NLDS last year? (Don’t answer that…because yeah…with Folty, 2 bad pitches/missed calls was all it took for him to meltdown.)

    We’ll have plenty of time to go over what went wrong or right when the season is over. For now, we remain up 2-1 in the series with potentially 4 left to play. We know we are in for a tough game tonight that potentially will even up the series (not a certainty…it’s baseball. Anything can happen.) And if Kershaw actually pitches, he’s pretty much done for the series. And we are guaranteed of a game 5 which will most assuredly be Fried now that Ynoa pitched last night (no way Tomlin starts a game unless Snit just gives up.) We only need 2 more wins and they’ve gone through their rotation. They still have May out there, so point in their favor. But otherwise we’ve proven that we can hit their pen and have the 2 starters we trust available (even on short rest.) I’m not smart enough to figure the odds, but I’d say we are still above 50% of winning out at this moment.

    In these Braves, I trust. If, ands and buts notwithstanding, I still like our chances which are far better than I thought they were when this series began.

  13. More perspective:

    The obvious parallel here is Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS, when St. Louis’s 10-run first inning explosion all but ended Atlanta’s season eight and a half innings before it became official. But tonight’s lopsided contest actually reminds me of a game from all the way back in 2001.

    After winning 116 times during the regular season, Seattle barely survived its ALDS bout with Cleveland and then fell behind the Yankees two games to none in the ALCS. The Mariners were too good to not wake up eventually, and in Game 3 they did. Stifled for 2.5 games, the Mariners bats erupted over the final five innings, and they ultimately trounced the Bronx Bombers 13-2. For one glorious afternoon, all was right in the world for the Mariners and their fans.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/dodgers-thump-braves-15-3-to-take-game-3/

  14. Good perspective, AAR. To touch back to what Nick said @2, I’d say that people in general have short memories. And long ones. 28-3. 10 runs in the first and now 11. 2nd and 26 yards in 2018. It all begins to run together which creates this idea of a “curse.” I agree. It doesn’t exist. It’s just some bad luck. Every one of those teams had the wherewithal to win. They just didn’t. And each time, they were going up against one of the best teams in their respective sports – Patriots, Cardinals (historically, even if not that year), Dodgers, Bama.

    Really, the one that has kept coming up here is 1996. We win those first 2 in NY and then lose 4 straight, sparked by the “momentum” of Wohlers to Leyritz. Suddenly 6-0 becomes 6-6 and ends 8-6 Yankees (in 10 innings, by the way.) But these were the late 90’s Yankees. One of the greatest crews of all time (no matter what you think of the Yanks in general.) These Dodgers are good. Not great. They have pissed away every chance they’ve been given over the last 8 years. I said it the other day – these guys are not those guys. Yankees have 27 championships. The Dodgers have 6. They have not won it all since 1988. An historical nemesis, to be sure. But not one we cannot beat. We’ve gone out to the west coast (which has been hard on us the last few years) and swept. It can be done.

    As I’ve followed the Braves, I look at their World Series. We played five in the 90’s (the less said about ’99 the better.) In our first 4, I’ve often suggested that we lost the ones we should have won and won the one we should have lost. It’s baseball. Weird things happen (see Marlins, Florida or Miami depending on your preference.) And then I drill back further and find the series that gives me my most favored memory of baseball since I’ve been watching. The 1992 NLCS.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1992_NLCS.shtml

    It’s not a perfect parallel, but it comes close. The Pirates were one of the best teams in baseball. Sure we beat them in 1991, but this was their 3rd NLCS in a row. Bonds, Bell, King, Van Slyke. Drabek, Wakefield, Walk (who won his game.) We blasted them in game two 13-5. And they blasted us 13-4 in game six against Glavine. And it all came down to the last man on the bench. One Francisco Cabrera who’d barely played for us all year. Sid slid and we went on to lose the WS to Toronto (which we should have won.)

    I suggested this one might go 7. It was never going to be easy. We knew we lacked starting depth. We also know we have a stacked line-up (even after Duvall goes out.) Our pen is likely the best in the majors (even if they are getting gassed.) Our bench ain’t bad and there sits Charlie Culberson just waiting for his clutch moment in game 7. Replay of 1992? Don’t know. But if we can get past this series, we’ll be ready for Tampa (sorry, Houston, it’s not your year thankfully.)

  15. @17 As of this morning the betting odds now favor the Dodgers to win this series (currently at about -115 and the spread is widening), so it is hard to argue that we have a better than 50% chance of winning anything. Assuming Kershaw can start tonight the Dodgers have zero question marks in their pitching staff or their lineup. Their game 5 starter, Dustin May, had a 2.59 ERA this year with a 1.09 WHIP and after only throwing 2 innings in Game 1 he is a much better bet to give them five strong innings than Fried is on short rest for us.

    The most probable scenario tonight is that Wilson gets hit around in the first couple innings and then Snitker finds himself facing an impossible but entirely predictable dilemma – down four or five runs in the second or third inning does it really make sense to start using your better bullpen arms in the hopes that you can somehow mount a comeback against Kershaw and the Dodgers’ bullpen?

  16. @23 – No it doesn’t. Nor do I think Snit would do that. If we are down, Tomlin can come in again and save the pen. And like Nick, I really don’t care about the betting odds. JonathanF and others can answer with more intelligent analysis of our winning odds.

  17. I seem to recall that yesterday’s math lessons taught us that the Braves chance of winning the series was 100%. Yes, we were being facetious but the exercise hammered home for me the reality of our position – up two games to zero.

    One loss (no matter the margin) only makes it two-to-one. Our chance is definitely not 100 now but it certainly isn’t less than 50. Kershaw is damaged goods and I’m not expecting a Curt Schilling bloody sock performance out of him tonight. Think about it – if we “steal” this one tonight, we have Max and Ian left to get the clincher.

    Curses don’t exist.

  18. @13
    I trust Statcast (in my opinion, it’s not even close as other outlets do not have the tech, the $, or the time to do what Statcast can) and their measurement of Austin Riley’s defense in left field. IMO, he’s got good instincts, below average range, and an above average arm which makes him a neutral fielder…for now, while he’s young.

  19. Wright is young and truly cannot (w)right the ship when it comes to his mechanics. David and I discussed via PM on twitter:
    •Slider release was off and easily detected (lacked tunnel) because of added adrenaline.
    •Two seamer was flat and a perfect storm for Dodgers players and their batpaths.
    •After 2-0, Dodgers got momentum and Kyle couldn’t calm himself down.

    So…in short, he showed his age.

  20. I’d call it his inexperience, lack of confidence, and makeup. Kyle Wright is older than Mike Soroka in physical years, but in no other respect.

  21. You know, the 2001 Diamondbacks won the championship with 2 great starters, basically winning all their starts. Now, that was getting like 8-innings of 1-run ball from peak Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling. The biggest difference was they got the occasional passible start from rotation filler like Miguel Batista & Albie Lopez. Braves just need a decent start from Wilson or Wright.

    Also, is anyone else less concerned about terrible work from Wright & Dayton, and more concerned that the offense managed diddly against Urias? I though this team was supposed to mash LHP?

  22. @32 I chalk up the offensive struggles to the shellshock of giving up 11 runs in the first inning. The game was over before they came to the plate. I don’t expect much from them at that point.

  23. Game of inches…Albies missed a HR by about 1.5 feet and Comargo missed a HR by about 1.5 inches. ….overall, I didn’t care if they scored too much or not last night. Save the big hits for when they really need them.

  24. @29 I genuinely appreciate the optimism, but that’s not “showing his age”. Kyle Wright is 25 years old. This is who he is. I think people seem to think that Kyle Wright is more Mike Soroka than Matt Wisler, and nothing within his professional body of work says that he is. If he can’t consistently replicate his mechanics at this point, then you just simply can’t give him the ball in an important game.

    Would you give the ball to him in a Game 6 at this point? I wouldn’t. Would you give him a rotation spot next year? I wouldn’t. And if you did, what would you need to see and more importantly, for how long before you think that he’s finally figured it out? Let’s say he has 5 good starts early next season. Is that enough? It shouldn’t be. At this point, he would have to rattle off at least a half season of strong performance before you’d think that this guy isn’t a constant loose cannon and candidate to lose his mechanics. We’ve been hearing about the guy not finding his mechanics for his entire professional career. So would you be willing to devote a half season of starts to this science experiment next year? It would be reckless.

    He needs to get packaged in a deal so he can go throw 150 innings for a rebuilding team. Any contending team is crazy to give this guy with consistently bad mechanics the ball. And unfortunately, when you get to this point in even a great pitching prospect’s development, that’s where their value is.

  25. I don’t know anything about Statcast metrics, but any measure of left field defense that assigns value relative to other left fielders (if that is what Statcast does) is IMO flawed by its very nature and thus irrelevant to our current needs. LF is by far the least efficiently manned defensive position — that is to say, basically every team sticks their worst fielder there. An “average” RELATIVE defensive rating in LF does not mean that the player is an average outfielder — it means if you made a list of each team’s worst fielder, he’d fall somewhere in the middle (this is how Brett Gardner used to rise so far up the WAR ratings, by being a good outfielder playing in left). But we need plays to be made out there in an absolute sense, not a relative one.

    Riley is IMO both a worse outfielder than Markakis and a worse third baseman than Camargo, but the margin is thinner at 3B, so that’s where he should stay.

  26. I agree – Riley needs to stay at 3rd. He’s serviceable in left (his gaff last night notwithstanding) but he looks good at 3rd nearly every time. (That’s the eye test and not the metrics.)

    And Rob – your distaste of Wright is noted. But that’s the dog we have. For whatever reason (that all know) we went into this postseason (or even season as a whole in many respects) with a very young and untested rotation. Injuries, opt outs, short leashes…I think AA is not too far away from your opinion. But these are the arms he/we have at the moment.

  27. @26 – Lol, the betting odds are without question the best possible widely available approximation of ‘the real chances’ of one or the other sports team winning, chiefly because the majority of the betting in Vegas is not being done by fans of one team or the other but by impartial sports bettors, the most sophisticated of whom are basing the bets on their own probability models. It is no surprise at all that 538’s simulations are now following lockstep with the betting.

    To suggest that Snitker’s decision would be easy, and that you just waive the white flag and use Tomlin, is just ducking the problem. What if Wilson manages to hold them to three through three innings, do you still bring in Tomlin? What about down two? Or what if Wilson gives up two hits in the first, walks the bases loaded, then manages to somehow escape with a hard hit double play. Do you leave him in to start the second after he walks the first two batters, or do you go to Matzek on the theory that this is still a tie game and as long as you can get out of the inning with a zero the game is still up for grabs?

  28. FWIW, if it were up to me I would open the game with Melancon and then pitch the best relievers in descending order for as long as a win is within reach. Statistically that gives you the best odds to win this game, and winning this game is the only way to improve your odds of winning the series.

  29. The Braves are underdogs for a reason

    In cold light of day, they have over performed to get this far

    For Game 4, make Kershaw keep pitching – no easy outs and see how his back holds up

    As for our side, in Snit we trust – he is managing on the fly, but I’d rather it was him than anyone else. Either game 4 or 5 will be the pivot to this series, but I’m not chucking any towels yet. In one of the next two games, our bats will do similar damage to last night, and that puts us in position to see it through

  30. @40 – 538 gave Hillary a 71% chance of winning in 2016. I don’t want to get into politics (because it is verboten) but the real numbers don’t always line up with the perceived notion of what could/should happen. Betters bet on odds, to be sure. And it is no surprise that LA is still considered the front runner here. Yet we remain up 2 games to 1.

    And yes, if things go tits up with Wilson, bring in Tomlin to mop up. It’s not giving up. It is just looking at reality.

  31. So this team won its division, then won its first 2 post-season series, won its first 7 post-season games, in fact, going up 2-0 in the NLCS, then lost a game by a big margin to slip back to a 2-1 advantage… am I right on this?

    OK… so instead of watching the final few innings of last night’s debacle, something I’d like to forget, I re-watched “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” – a movie about losing your memory (on purpose). I think it helped.

    So we’re supposedly facing Clayton Kershaw tonight. He’s killed us in his 2 playoff appearances (in 2013 & 2018), but I’ll remind everyone that his post-season ERA (4.23 in 172 IP – 27 starts/34 appearances) is almost 2 runs higher than his career ERA (2.43). He’s truly great, but he’s far from unbeatable in October.

    And I’m no doctor, but I can’t imagine his current condition will be any help in getting him too deep into the game. If Wilson can keep us in the game thru innings 3 to 5 (perhaps a supreme if), we can win this.

    Go Braves.

  32. Yes, the oddsmakers and computer-model projections are always harbingers of what’s about to happen and if we have a 55 percent chance to lose this series, that means we’re in big trouble. That’s why we won the first two games of this series, which was definitely what the oddsmakers favored, and…wait, what’s that? I’m hearing that we had only about a 40 percent chance to win either one of those games according to those same computer projections? Well, that can’t be right!

  33. Any strategy that increases the odds that Tomlin will make an appearance is a bad strategy.

    The single strategy that most increases those odds is to start Wilson.

    Ipso facto the worst possible strategy to employ in this game is to start Wilson.

  34. Bryce Wilson sucks. Do you really think he is going to beat Kershaw? Especially when the Dodgers can cheat and kick balls and get first base when it is already a blow out game.

    Seems fitting they will face the Trashtros. That will generate bucks and drama that Braves and Rays will not.

  35. Couple of things:

    1) I’m treating it as though this is a 5 game series and we just won Game 1. They’ve still got to beat one of our two best to win and we’ve got two more chances besides that to get W’s.

    2) Someone pointed out (not to compare Wright and Glavine) that Glavine gave up 8 runs in an inning to the Pirates in the 1992 NLCS. The next game is the one where Sid Slid.

  36. If I’m the Dodgers and there is any question at all about Kershaw, I throw May tonight and keep Kershaw in my back pocket for game 6 or 7.

  37. Did you realize the Atlanta’s 11 run inning also came after a bang bang replay went our way? Remember Duvall’s boneheaded attempt to tag to 3rd against the Marlins?

  38. @48 – I don’t think Wilson will “beat” Kershaw. However, he has a decent probability of giving us 3 to 5 reasonably good innings. If Kershaw goes less than 7, I also see us getting to their bullpen at some point. Our win probability is below 50%, but it is exponentially higher than it was after the 1st inning last night.

    While there is no crystal ball, I also think our coaching staff has insight that we don’t from the simulation games. All they had to go on was simulation games when they called up Anderson and he’s been pretty good. They’ve been watching Newk, Folty, Wilson, Weigel, Davidson and others and chose Wilson, so I think there is some value in that. They had a lot of options when they decided on Camargo and he looked pretty good last night.

  39. @37, the 538’s model’s preseason forecasts have said the Mets were more likely than the Braves to win the division in each of the last three years, so I’m not too concerned about what it thinks about this series at this point. 2018 I suppose I can buy, but in 2019 and 2020? It also had the Nationals as more likely in each of the last three years, but that’s less ridiculous.

    Someone above said we should pitch Fried in game 5. I’d rather save him for game 6. Most starters don’t pitch as well on short rest, and Fried seems relatively fragile and so not a good candidate for that. I’d rather have full-strength Fried in game 6, even if we’re down 3-2. Most of our good relievers are available tonight, can skip game 5 (in which, btw, I would have Wright as the first reliever rather than the starter, for psychological reasons), and would be good to go in both games 6 & 7.

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