It’s a New Morning: Braves 5, Mets 4

“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief,

What a frustrating team these Braves have been to watch! We are all looking for a way out of the malaise that is the 2021 season so far.

“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.”

We’re all a little confused about what the central problem is. There’s one indisputable fact–they sure can’t get no relief.  Some relievers have been consistently terrible (remember the late Jesse Biddle?), some have been wildly inconsistent (looking at you, Newk) but even the “good” relievers have been hurt (Martin) or have had several rough outings (Smith, Minter). 

“Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,

Our businessmen owners at Liberty Media plowed the earth of Cobb County at taxpayers’ expense, and they’re drinking the revenues it generates. 

None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.”

But the suits at LM don’t seem to understand what a baseball franchise is really worth.  They don’t want to invest in the players necessary to put this team over the top. Man, we sure could use Mark Melancon and Adam Duval.

“No reason to get excited,” the thief he kindly spoke,

Some of us (see, e.g., each of my Wednesday recaps this season) insist that it’s far too early to panic or to draw dire conclusions about the ultimate outcome of this long season.


“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.

I’ve felt that too many in Braves country have jumped to conclusions that aren’t truly serious—folks make assertions that aren’t backed by evidence.


But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,

Some of us have been around for a long time and we’ve been through a lot of seasons; we know that a team’s record in mid-May is not necessarily indicative of what it will turn out to be at the end of September.

So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

I will admit to impatience with those who to my mind talk falsely, who prematurely decide that certain players are no good: Swanson (I’ll admit that he’s not looking good at all this year), Riley (who has really turned it on lately), or even Ozuna (very slow start, but could yet put in a productive season). Or assert that certain guys are over the hill (Morton, maybe even Freeman).  These predictions may turn out to be correct, but it’s too early to make definitive conclusions.


All along the watchtower, princes kept the view

I’ve tried to stay on the watch for signs of hope, but even my sunny view is starting to dim.  This team has been very hard to watch, and my default position of hopefulness has been sorely tried. 

While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

It’s not that the front office has been standing pat since the season started; it seems there are new roster moves every day. Lots of players came and went in the first six weeks, but none has made much difference.

 
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,

Some fans are fiercely registering their displeasure, with low growls of disapproval.  This team has not been getting the job done.


Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Going into Wednesday’s game, the Braves desperately needed a win.  I was starting to feel haunted by the prospect of a promising season spiraling out of control.  Doom was approaching, and the winds of frustration were howling.

 *   *   *

Eighty years ago this week, in Hibbing, Minnesota, Abram and Beatrice Zimmerman gave birth to a baby boy, Robert Allen Zimmerman.  Happy 80th, Bob! May the never-ending tour continue!

  *   *   *

Oh, you tuned in for a recap of Wednesday’s game with the Mets?  The Braves finally defeated the hated Mets, 5-4, on a walk off home run in the 9th by Acuña.  So the growling wildcats, approaching riders, and howling winds are kept at bay for another day.

In fact, this may have been the most important victory of the year so far.  I say that in part because a loss could have been the most frustrating in a season already chock full of frustrating losses.

There were many signs of hope in tonight’s victory.  First was the performance of Charlie Morton.  The starters’ ERA in the last 14 games had been 2.62; Charlie was the one who stood out in the rotation for having several poor starts in a row. But tonight Morton was simply terrific. He went six innings, giving up one run on only two hits, striking out 8 and walking no one. If Morton pitches like this going forward, the Braves have the makings of a stellar rotation. (Morton really was sharp, but I should point out how weak this Mets lineup was.  It would be a cliché to call the Mets’ a AAA lineup, but it’s literally true. All three Mets starting outfielders tonight were in AAA earlier this week; Fargas and Lee made their big league debuts in this series, and hitting third for the Mets was old friend Cameron Maybin, who before today had been toiling for the Cub’s affiliate in Omaha.)

The second hopeful sign was the offense stringing together lots of quality at bats, putting the ball in play and hitting to the opposite field. Most importantly, they came from behind twice and scored runs in the 8th and the 9th.

Tonight’s game started out much like Monday and Tuesday. The Braves didn’t get their first baserunner until a Freeman single in the 4th.  And he was quickly erased by an Ozuna gidp. 

Morton was one over the minimum through 5.  The problem was that one was a solo homer by Jonathan Villar.  So going to the bottom of the 5th, the Braves were trailing 1-0.

For the first time in forever, the Braves actually put together a rally in the bottom of the 5th, batting around and plating 3 runs. Big hits by Riley, Heredia, and Charlie Morton (!).

Although the Braves led 3-1 heading to the 7th, they should have had more. They left the bases loaded in the 5th, when Ozuna hit a shot up the middle but right at the shortstop.  In the 6th, the Braves loaded them again, but Panda (pinch hitting for Morton) hit a rope that was speared by the third baseman.

Because Morton was removed for a pinch hitter, the Braves needed to get nine outs from the bullpen. Gulp.  In the 7th A.J. Minter at first looked looked sharp, quickly retiring the first two batters and getting Dom Smith to hit a weak tapper in front of the plate.  Then all of a sudden the wheels fell off.  First he threw wildly to first for a two base error.  Then a walk on four pitches, followed by a run scoring double.  Jackson came in with the tying and go ahead runs in scoring position, and promptly surrendered a bloop single to center that scored both runners.  So just like that the Mets led 4-3.

When the Braves failed to score in the 7th despite a lead-off walk by RAJ, followed by a rocket to right by Freeman that Lee caught as he crashed into the wall, those riders of doom approached even closer and the winds of frustration picked up.

Fortunately Chris Martin pitched a 1-2-3 8th.  In the bottom of the inning, Riley doubled (he’s looking great!), Dansby had an infield single, and with two strikes Contreras hit a liner to right that tied the game.  But this being the 2021 Braves, moments of exhilaration like that always seem to be followed by frustration. Swanson was cut down trying to steal 3rd (WTF?) and Heredia and Adrianza struck out.

So we went to the ninth in a tie game with Will Smith on the mound. We’ve seen this play before, as recently as last night.  When Maybin struck out but reached on a wild pitch, then stole second and advanced to third on another wild pitch with just one out, the winds of doom were positively deafening in my ears. Lo and behold, Smith induced the next two hitters to pop to Riley ending the threat.

And on the first pitch of the ninth, Ronald did his thing and celebration ensued. We gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Friends, after tonight’s stirring win, I believe the times they are a changin’. I feared that a hard rain was gonna fall, but the answer just might be blowing in the wind.

Braves start a four game set with the lowly Pirates tomorrow. More like tonight, and we may just find shelter from the storm.

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

70 thoughts on “It’s a New Morning: Braves 5, Mets 4”

  1. The Braves won thanks to the Superman efforts of Ronald Acuna. Ist Pitch in the 9th Inning walk off Homer into the Center Field Stands . However The Offence needs A lot of Work. in the Batting order 2-5 They Arn’t getting anything accomplished. In comparison of Seasons 2018 untill this year 2021. The pitching staff is unable to hold a Lead for more Than an Inning. The Pitching Coach seams to be asleep . I am praying That The Pitching staff Can have a starting pitcher could Accomplish a Complete game that hasn’t been accomplished in over 20 years. Perhaps by some Miracle that will happen . Each game in the 9th Innning I am on the edge of my seat . In comparison to the last 3 Seasons. If The Braves Pitching staff has a Pitcher to pitch a No No . In the American league that has happened 6 Times. It would literally take a Miracle from GOD for this To happen. Why is Ronald Acuna taking the Team and placing the Game on his Shoulders? There are 9 players 9n the Team So what we are witnessing there are no other players to do the same as Ronald Acuna??? There is Something Wromg here ladies and Gentlemen. Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune in Boyton Beach FLORIDA. ⛱

  2. How would you guys rank our relievers? I would rank them

    Martin
    Matzek
    Smith
    Jackson
    No confirmation for anyone else

  3. Beauty. Thanks, tfloyd. Woke up in time for the walk-off. Gotta be a great day. Go Braves!

  4. Are we on Desolation Row or Knocking At Heaven’s Door? Dang it… We still don’t know.

    Nice work, my friend.

    But yes… These games are getting harder and harder to watch, even when we win. Not Andres Thomas hard, but pretty close to Jeff Francoeur hard. The recapper’s life is never easy.

  5. Mark,
    My Name is Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune in Boyton Beach FLORIDA. What you are both saying and Writing is 1000% correct. One of The Major stumbling points Of This Poor Display of Offense is why is 8 of 9 Players of the Starting Lineup are Swinging on the First pitch why? Wouldn’t be a More Positive outcome be if Each player would let the First pitch occur than observe what the Pitcher has in his Tool Box? Look at Ronald Acuna for Instance. You have pointed out During the Season is displaying during the 2021 season less strike out , less Fly ball outs as well as ground outs. Why isn’t the Batting and Hiting coach go over this during the Season ? Freddy Freman got into that Mold During the 2020 Season He won The MVP for 2020 . Look at Freddy Freman now. Along with Marcel Ozuna, Ossie Albiies Swanson why is it so important to swing on the First pitch? Who is holding a gun to ther heads? .please pass this observeration to The Batting Coach and Brian Snitiker . You never know it could spell a more Successful out come and Fans along both myself , you and others concerned won’t have To live at the Edge of Our seats .With Another Approach Batting averages Increase . a friendly reminder The Allstar game is In July . How in the world Will Freedy Freman, Marcel Ozuna, Ozzie Albiies or any one else get elected to the Allstar game . It’s hard enough that Players are elected by fans who are being voted in because of the Many Fams want their favorite Players to be in the Allstar game. Since the National League has won In over 5 Years in succession . Plus if The Braves fail to win . The Attendence goes Down . This payroll suffers. Because of lack of Money . Do you want to see what happened in Miami Florida when there was average attendance of Less than 10,000 people attending. back in 1998 And 1999 . The attendance was so horrible I attended a game The attendance was less Than 20o Fans. Also look at the Attendance the Braves have had experienced on National Television Being Broadcasted . In addition by the 6 Th Inning of The Marlins game There were no fans sitting In the Out field. Freddy Freman is up for A Contact extention if his Offense is done How will The General Manager give it to Him Not Lickley !!. Marcel Ozuna received a 4 year contract a large one if I was the Front Office. I would be kicking myself in the Head. Because Ozuna is Displsying not his potential. That is the Bottom line That brings Fans To the Ball Park would you pay a lot of Money only To see a poor displaying of Offense hitting? Not me And I’m totally convinced you , your family or friends would. Thank you in advance for you reading this Comment Its Simple in any job Put out your Best efforts Or your Boss will say you are Fired.
    Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune in Boyton Beach And Lauderdale Lakes Florida.

  6. Coming reluctantly to Dansby’s defense, I thought he tried to steal with one out, after Heredia had struck out. That would’ve made a SF a possibility, so the break-even success rate on that has got to be lower than if he had tried to steal third with nobody out.

    For me, Heredia’s AB was another example of the game being frustrating. He badly popped foul a couple of bunt attempts and was lucky both times that they weren’t caught. (Maybe we should create a new role for Pache as a late inning defensive replacement/bunting instructor.) Then he started taking pitches and fouling off others, and it looked like he might draw a walk to load the bases. After all that, he struck out, missing badly on a pitch outside the zone.

    Regardless, it worked out in the end, and as a wordsmith who came before your Mr. Zimmerman wrote, all’s well that ends well.

  7. Jeff Francouer hard is hard enough. Don’t go mistaking paradise for the home across the road.

  8. Dylan may have been the inspiration, but reading this put me in a Vonnegut headspace…where most of us could stand to spend a little more time. Thanks, tfloyd.

  9. At least we are not on Desolation Row.
    Close.
    Bobby will be featured on WMNF Tampa (best radio station on planet Earth) Monday. Show your support.

  10. It’s more fun to win than it is to lose. #Analysis

    Minter is on pace for 80 appearances. Will Smith is on pace for 75. Matzek and Jackson are on pace for 71. Jackson led the team in appearances in 2019 with 70. Yeah, this is not gonna work.

  11. Well, tfloyd, anybody can be just like me, obviously
    But then, now again, not too many can be like you — unfortunately!

  12. @8
    Because they are going up looking for a pitch, probably a fastball. When they get it, they are swinging.

    I went to my barber this morning. He said a deal is in the works with the Pirates.

    ATL Gets: Richard Rodriguez, Chris Stratton
    Pitt Gets: Drew Waters and Justin Dean

  13. Thnx for the Thoroughly Bob thoughts, tfloyd… as TV producer David Chase once said, between Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello, they have a song for almost everything in life. But Dylan, I hear, is actually a baseball fan.

    Before (Not So) Hot Ronald’s blast, last night was fitting a familiar pattern. It sure didn’t end the way I thought it would. When Maybin reached base on the K/WP, I had a different Dylan theme song in mind:

    Yeah, time to turn this thing around.

  14. @#3: For the win(d), both on the phenomenal recap and the “less is more” response to a certain commenter’s incoherent bloviating.

  15. I wonder what the net cost to the team will be (including mid-season acquisitions) of not signing Melancon and Green to start the season. We had a pretty clear path and it probably cost us more money in the long run, not to mention a lot of losses, to go with guys like Nat Jones, Carl Edwards, Jr. and other disasters.

  16. @21 – I can’t help but think about what a disaster Kimbrel was after holding out, as well. I hope Greene avoids that.

  17. Serves the Twinkies right. You reap what you sow, Hrbek and Co.!

  18. What is it with Snitker’s sudden love of the bunt? Asking Heredia to bunt in that situation was so bad. I thought we were past that nonsense with him. Dansby trying to steal 3rd…taking the bat out of Ronald’s hands capped the stupidly of that inning. Thankfully Ronald bailed them both out the next inning.

    LM’s budget cuts didn’t give AA the ability to put together a real bullpen or add some depth to the roster. Hoping they can turn it around, but it’s not looking good……even with beating the AAA Mets last night.

  19. I know this will get JC’d soon, but I can’t tell you how many time an Atlanta runner has been called out for running inside the baseline on the way to first base. I hate the rule but as it has gone against us so many times, it’s only fair that it be enforced the same way uniformly. The Nats had that same call go against them last night (interference was called) and they are still fuming.

    MLB really needs to clarify/adjust this rule. The Met runner (Dom Smith) was on the grass, not even on the dirt part of the running lane.

  20. Do we know that Snit called for Dansby’s steal? The radio guys were noting that it took Contreras by surprise — if he had known Dansby was running, he should have taken second. (It seemed to take the batter by surprise, too; he didn’t even pretend to offer at the pitch.) So maybe Contreras missed a sign, but I think it’s possible that Dansby was trying to make something happen.

  21. Snit’s comments made it sound like Dansby did that on his on. He said something like you can’t blame a kid for trying to make something happen.

  22. #28
    I’d guess that Dansby was on his own there.

    He wanted to get to 3rd with one out — understood. However, it was one of those “great-only-if-it-works” situations. Just not worth the risk with Acuna on deck.

  23. Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher, etc.

  24. Dansby has been listening to everyone wanting to bench him, and he has responded accordingly.

  25. Damn Freddie…he hasn’t come up big in those situations very many times this year it seems

  26. Riley and Acuña have consistently had a better idea of what the strike zone is in comparison to the HP umps.

  27. @32, it depends on how you look at it. Before tonight, in 15 PA with 2 out & runners in scoring position, he’s hitting .444/.643/.778. On the other hand, in 31 PA late in close games, he’s at .083/.290/.208.

  28. Everybody is talking about Dansby and not paying enough attention to Ozuna who has been even worse but remains an out machine in the middle of the order.

  29. Freddie is fine.

  30. @37 true story. I was talking yesterday that as bad as Dansby has been his ops was higher than Ozuna

  31. The bullpen and the shift that never works. We do it less than everyone else for a reason. STOP!

  32. We need to move Acuna back to centerfield for his arm and speed. With Pache gone for now we can’t justify him not being there, Herida will do fine in right.

  33. Chip reminds me of my dog Chip(per). He hears the wind outside, thinks it’s an intruder, and FREAKS OUT… for no reason.

  34. Great situation to get Webb out there. I swear Snit is trying to sabotage the season .

  35. Insofar as I want him the hell off the team, Webb is serving a purpose for me tonight.

  36. Of course the fastball was down the middle… he is still gun shy. I know the bullpen has struggled this year, but having a guy pull all the wrong strings every single time doesn’t help

  37. Can’t believe he put Webb in .. Snit has no clue .. this team sucks at home .. Allies is no number 4 hitter .. we have no cleanup hitter .. I’d go .. Swanson, Albies, Acuna, Freeman, Ozuna, Riley, Contreras and Heredia .. current lineup sucks .. gotta move Albies to RH all the time .. he cant hit LH .. I be willing to bet he could hit RH all the time and be better ..

  38. @61, Webb’s on-field performance makes the case for Gwinnett far more eloquently than my angry blog comments. He makes Josh Tomlin look like Jonny Venters.

  39. Pitchers just pepper that outside corner on Ozzie and he swings through them every time.

  40. When your number 3 and 4 hitters are like a combined 1 for 50 it’s tough to win.

  41. The last thing I want to hear from Chip Caray — besides a home-run call that isn’t — is him blather about how another win is a turning point for the season, like he did Wednesday and after the comeback against the Phillies.

    This team is what it is. Just good enough to give optimists hope. Just lousy enough to make pessimists sense perpetual doom. And flawed enough to where realists see what this team is: an incomplete unit that will win almost as many games as it loses.

  42. A word in for Pittsburgh who I was assuming we would put away easily judging by their nondescript reputation. Ha.

    They outclassed us in every position that matters…and sometimes more, you could swear there was two of that guy, always. We had nothing to match the four pitchers, after Crowe, they used tonight. El Greco their closer resembled an escapee from a 15th century working party with evil on his hands. Their guy Frazier I assume we might trade Freddie for, only they would say no.

    Their 2 and 4 hitters combined for 3 hits, 3 rbi…compare our 2, 3 and 4 hitters…0/0/0

    Shame to waste that early 3 run homer that got us out of early trouble only to see it eaten up by the numbers above.

    But it always looked inevitable. All round they were clearly the better team. Reassuring in a way that it’s not only the big teams that can play great baseball. So can we when we pull our collective fingers out…(Brit phrase circa 1600)

    it seemed,

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