The immortal words of Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh describe not just last night’s game; they also capture something about the 2021 season for the Braves.
After a rain delay that last over three hours, the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader between the Braves and the Padres was suspended in the middle of the fifth inning with the Padres leading 5-4. Under the rules in place since last year, the game was suspended, so the teams will pick up where they left off. (Before that rule change, they would have wiped out what happened and started the game over from scratch). It hasn’t yet been announced when the suspended game will resume. The teams’ respective schedules will make that difficult.
The Braves needed a win in the nightcap to salvage a split in the series and to take this three game series. Most importantly, the Mets won yesterday, so a loss would have caused the Braves to lose a game in a half in the standings in one day’s action.
Well, at least they didn’t lose. After the first half inning, a loss in game two and a sweep of the twin bill looked inevitable. Here is what Bryse Wilson surrendered in the first: double, walk, single, sac fly, walk, wild pitch, lineout, double, IBB. So it’s 4-zip before the Braves come to bat—and it’s one of those 7 inning games.
At that point, even though I had recap duty, I deserted my post. I switched off the game, and we decided to watch Ted Lasso. The new season is released on Friday, so we are re-watching season one. It’s just as brilliant as I remembered it. If you haven’t seen it, do so.
The emotional roller coaster of this season got to me, and I just couldn’t make myself watch after the Padres jumped to that early lead. We’ve talked before about how uniquely frustrating this season has been. I’ve been a Braves fan from the start, and I followed them through lots of losing seasons, some of epic proportions (see, e.g., 1977, 1988). Everybody here remembers 2015-2017. In the bad years, I followed the Braves, but I didn’t feel the need to watch every game. Whether they won or lost didn’t affect my mood.
Why is this season harder? I think it’s because they are still in the hunt, but they’re not very good. They keep tantalizing that they’ve turned a corner, about to win 8 of 10 and close the gap– and then they come crashing right back to where they were. In both 1991 and 1993, the Braves were further out in July than they are now. But both years they started playing much better this month, and I hung on every game. You came to expect important, exciting wins. It’s a lot harder to stick with them inning by inning when they blow leads and generally play poorly.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ted Lasso last night, but I did look at the MLB app on my phone between episodes. Wilson gave up another run in the top of the second for a 5-0 deficit. But the Braves scored 4 in the bottom of the second to make a game of it. I almost turned the game back on right then. But it would be just like this team to come all the way back and then blow it anyway. We decided staying in the fantasy world of Ted Lasso would be better for both of our moods.
I did keep checking the app. Neither team scored after the second (two perfect innings by Tomlin and one by Chavez). And in the middle of the fifth the rains came. MLB really didn’t want to have to resume this game at a later date, so they waited a very long time before calling it.
When they do resume, the Braves are down a run, but they have 9 outs left to make up that deficit. It’s interesting to imagine the context in which those two and a half innings will be played. It may be that by the time they resume this game, the Braves are in the thick of the pennant race, and they have traded for bullpen help and a big bat. If so, I’ll be hanging on every pitch. On the other hand, they may have slipped out of contention, and the result of this game won’t mean anything (at least to the Braves). I’ll probably watch anyway, but it won’t stress me out.
The most important road trip of the season starts today in Philly—four against the Phillies followed by five in four days against the Mets. At the end of these eight days, we’ll know whether to gear up for a pennant race or give up hope for this year. Or it may rain.