You are well within your rights not to believe. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t believe either.
First getting back to 4-4 was supposed to be the catalyst for this team, then it was dominating the Cubs for three days, then it was the miracle win over the Phillies in May, then it was the 20-1 win over the Pirates and so on.
This team has had way too many “that’s the win that gets them going” wins for you to believe every important win is going to be that one.
But if nothing else, a night like this reminds you there is something in the tank. This lineup can still bang out hits (without home runs even) against one of the best pitchers in the sport, and the bullpen is capable of shutting down a top tier offense for a night. And while I still wouldn’t call the Braves could, I would say they’re at least capable of being good.
That’s enough for tonight. Now it’s incumbent on them to actually make this win “the one that gets them going”
- The bullpen. It has to start and end there. AJ Minter, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek, Chris Martin and Will Smith kept the Dodgers at bay over the final four innings in a close game. And the biggest key to all of it? Only one walk to 16 batters faced. That was a refreshing change of pace the night after the Dodgers won the game in one inning with eight runs on just three hits. That was the closest thing we’ve seen to the 2020 bullpen all season.
- If the bullpen has been one issue for this team, the lack of non-home run production on offense has been the other. But they strung together five runs without one against Clayton Kershaw in the third inning, and did so with some impressive at-bats.Ronald Acuña Jr. battling from a 1-2 count to work a walk and Ozzie Albies driving a 1-2 slider into the left field corner really stood out. Both of those hitters have had big strikeout issues in their past, and in any season before this one probably would’ve succumbed to Kershaw there. But tonight they found a way to keep their at-bats alive, and turned the game around in the process.
- Abraham Almonte pinch-hit home run? Anyone have that on their bingo card? No? Alright, just checking.
- Big shoutout to Charlie Morton for keeping the game on the beam in the first inning. After a two-strike hit-by-pitch to Mookie Betts, an error, a fielder’s choice and another error, there was a feeling of “here we go again” just four batters in. But he settled down and kept the score 1-0 after a half inning. He did give some runs back later, but that was huge.
- After a slow start partly hampered by injuries, the 40/40 chase is on for Acuña. His total stands at 17/11 after two swipes tonight.
- Can we just cut the baseball analysis for a second and let something out? That was fun! Winning is fun! Beating the Dodgers is fun! A sold-out ballpark on a Saturday night with a national broadcast made it feel like a playoff game! I can’t speak for anyone else, but that was the most fun I’ve had watching a game all season. Maybe it starts something big, maybe it’s just a blip on the radar of a lost season. But in a one-night vacuum, that was a blast.
- I know the college baseball and softball tournaments are going on right now, but you’re still allowed to play defense like professional players. Four errors in a game against anyone is asking for a disaster; against the Dodgers it feels like a miracle the Braves got away with it. The errant pick-off throw was an especially frustrating way to gift away an early run.
- Charlie Morton battled tonight, but he still has one inning that keeps him from going deep in games. Tonight it was the fourth inning, where he allowed four consecutive hits to lead it off right after his offense gave him five runs. In fairness to him, the double play he induced from Zach McKinstry was the biggest pitch of the game. But he still seems to find one landmine to step in every five days seemingly no matter what.
- It could have been a much less stressful game; the Braves had a baserunner in every inning except the second and sixth but only scored in two of those frames. On another night, the missed opportunities might’ve mattered.
- This sounds weird for a negative, but are games like this a little but frustrating to anyone else? It’s all there. It’s right there. Get production from the lineup, get at least a decent start, use your high leverage relievers in the appropriate spots, and you can win games like this. If this team could find just a little bit of consistency…
Former Brave of The Day:
All Kevin Gausman does is churn out incredible starts these days. His latest masterpiece was seven innings of two-hit baseball against the Chicago Cubs for his seventh win of the season. His ERA is 1.27, and he’s probably the NL Cy Young favorite if not for Jacob deGrom.
Quote Of The Game:
“You cut them. You beat them. You see, they’re not invincible, they’re a baseball team.”
— Duke, paraphrased from Rocky IV