Braves Come From Behind To Beat Giants 6-5

For the first time all year, that really felt like the last three years. 

It was a Friday night, the place was packed, there were two first place teams, and most of all the game did not feel over at 4-2. So many times this season things have just felt dead or dreary, but the vibe around the ballclub and the fanbase is different right now. 

The Braves were playing from behind basically the whole way until the 7th, but they kept it close enough for long enough to feel like they were going to come back. And sure enough, the offense put up a four-run 7th inning and the bullpen held on for a 6-5 win. 

I don’t know where it’s going to lead, but these were the Braves we were desperate to see for four months. And here we are, just in time for the stretch run. 

Positives: 

  • The Braves beat the team with the best record in baseball. Beyond anything else, that’s the main thing. 
  • Max Fried almost fell off the rails a couple times times tonight, but he carried the game long enough to give the Braves a chance. His curveball wasn’t as sharp as it has been and he made a bad 3-0 mistake to Buster Posey in the first inning, but he never let the game get out of hand.
  • Speaking of not letting it get out of hand, that was a huge 7th inning from AJ Minter. The momentum from him wiggling out of that jam carried over to the offense in the bottom half of the frame. 
  • Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler hit moonshots and Joc Pederson made a game-saving catch on the day Eddie Rosario was called up to the majors. Take a bow, Alex Anthopolous. 
  • Another perfect inning for Luke Jackson against the heart of San Francisco’s order in a high leverage situation. How many of us expected to trust him more than Will Smith in key spots when the season started? 
  • Marked safe from losing to Kevin Gausman on his return to Atlanta. 

Negatives: 

  • Should I have the Will Smith conversation here or is it just beating a dead horse at this point? He has allowed eight runs in his last 10 ⅓ innings, good (?) for a 6.96 ERA. He has surrendered five home runs in that span and opposing hitters have an OPS over 1.000 in that span. He is going to be better no matter when he pitches, but the Braves do have better options for the 9th inning at this point. 
  • Ozzie Albies wasn’t charged with an error for his bobble in the 4th inning, but it did cost the Braves a run. That coupled with the 0-2 hit by La Stella felt like a real gut punch at the time.
  • Could that first inning have been different without the 35-minute delay in the middle, and could Fried have been sharper without having to wait almost an hour between pitches? Maybe, but I guess we’ll never know. 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

His team lost, but I’ll give the nod to Tommy La Stella for picking up two hits and an RBI tonight.

Quote Of The Game: 

“This is my kind of team.”

— Lou Brown, Major League

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Keep these good vibes going and take a series against the best team in baseball.

31 thoughts on “Braves Come From Behind To Beat Giants 6-5”

  1. Good work, Alan.

    La Stella over Gausman? Does time with the team count ahead of performance?

    BTW: Nothing speaks to the lack of confidence in Will Smith more than calling Pederson’s catch “game-saving.” If he misses it, there’s a man on second (or possibly third) with two outs. Isn’t that when the closer is money?

  2. I don’t know if Pederson’s catch was “game-saving”. Tough catch, absolutely, but that’s a ball that’s got to get caught all day. If he wants to turn it into a circus, that’s his business. I think we’re all struggling to describe Joc’s catch; the Braves site called it a “running catch”. Umm, y’all, if you run like that, you need to go see an orthopedist or your PCP immediately.

  3. @3 lol Ryan. Good one. I remember when many in baseball tried to argue Edmonds was a superior cf defender, on par with Andrew even. Even if it was mostly “the world’s greatest baseball fans” it was ridiculous to put him anywhere close to that level, even if he might have been above average. Andruw made the difficult plays look easy so often it masked his greatness. Edmonds made the spectacular looking play often because he didn’t have the positioning, instinct, and first step jump on the exactly correct path
    that Andruw did.

  4. The other thing worth noting: the pitch Flores homered on wasn’t even a strike.

    That doesn’t make Will Smith good. And that Will Smith isn’t good doesn’t mean he’s not a defensible option to pitch the ninth, all things considered. I understand how we got where we are.

    Perhaps the best argument you could make for Matzek in the ninth is that he walks a lot of guys, so you want him to always start clean? But rather unlike Will Smith, Matzek hasn’t served up a homer since July 6. Home runs are worse than walks, it turns out, so back into high-leverage relief Matzek goes.

  5. The question is why not look at other options now before the real season starts- the playoffs.

  6. I don’t know if this qualifies as a fallacy, per se, but you sure do see it a lot…

    Just because you (want to convince yourself that you) don’t feel certain you’d know what would happen if the Braves went with some other roster configuration doesn’t mean that the Braves–with significantly better information at their disposal–haven’t already thought it through.

    This is the kind of wishful thinking that leads people to clamor on the internet for Travis Demeritte. One should never clamor on the internet for Travis Demeritte.

  7. As a man who once clamored for the Braves to give more major league at-bats to Brandon Jones, their reigning Minor League Player of the year, I have tremendous sympathy for anyone who clamors on the internet for Travis Demeritte.

    So long as one can put one’s own foolishness into perspective, it is a profoundly relatable thing.

  8. So long as one can put one’s own foolishness into perspective, it is a profoundly relatable thing.

    I like this. It’s only human to think there’s got to be a better way. People gloss over Demeritte’s age/BABIP/K%, for instance, because they’re looking for an answer, whereas the Braves are looking for the truth.

    Should all else fail, “You never really know” gives everybody something to dream on.

  9. Folks who want to replace Smith with Matzek need to ask themselves if they’re cool with the two swapping roles, because that’s exactly what would happen. If the answer is yes, that’s fine. But Will Smith is not traveling to the sun, he’ll still be around as a significant member of the Braves’ bullpen.

  10. Also, Matzek is a guy who has had the yips. Not sure if you want to put extra pressure on him.

    But I’m to the point that I think Smith should be replaced and moved to low leverage.

  11. I know that it’s important to focus on process not outcome but until Smith loses us another game I’m not quite ready to reshuffle the pen. Everyone knows he’s on thin ice, but I worry about the effect on morale if he’s yanked for anything other than blown saves. We could make Rodriguez the closer, but I’m not yet convinced that the performance of the pen as a whole would be improved by moving Smith out of the closer’s spot and reshuffling everyone else. There’s always a chance it actually backfires – the nightmare scenario is that Smith continues his struggles in the 7th, while the other guys scuffle in their new higher-pressure roles.

  12. @13 And he struggles in the 7th and there’s no lead to protect in the 8th or 9th.

  13. I’m pretty sure this team is now ready to rock and roll just like Alan says. The feeling is different. The first thing that comes to my mind is why can’t we keep this team together next year. Swap out Heredia for Acuna and this team could be golden. I could live with losing one of our four new OFs in favor of Pache or Waters (or Harris someday), but keeping these guys will give us a primo bench to go with a huge amount of depth. With TdA already in the fold, using Contreras/Langeliers as the second (or first) catcher will complete this team.

    I also am not ready to give up on Smith as closer. What I’ve seen is that he can be quite a bit better with more rest. I would rather see the regular shuffle. Instead of Martin/Smith as 8th/9th stakes in the ground, why not make the 8th and 9th a rotation of Matzek/Martin/Rodriguez/Smith. With Minter and Jackson for earlier high leverage situations and Chavez/Santana for low leverage along with someone other than Tomlin for middle relief, our bullpen is really solid. Not giving EVERY closing situation to Smith might make the whole bullpen better and more reliable.

    And I think Demeritte is vastly underrated when you consider his defensive potential, too. I acknowledge that he is a real three true-outcome hitter (HR, K, W), but that is not necessarily a net negative. And 26yo is not too old to develop into a very good utility player. I think he’s better than Arcia.

    BTW, anyone checkout the Nashville Sounds (Brewers) recently when the Stripers are playing them? I see several familiar names – Lipka, Dustin Peterson, Sobotka, Weigel.

  14. I don’t know about anyone else but I was kinda worried about the replay review on Joc’s great catch. He fell to the ground with his glove down and one could argue the ground helped him hold onto the ball. In the end, I think he had control before that and I’m glad they came to the correct conclusion.

  15. @15. Matt Lipka, there’s a name I haven’t heard in awhile. That was a wasted 1st round pick in 2010. Was that the Wren regime? Has never played in the majors but still toiling away at it. Hope he at least gets a cup of coffee sometime

  16. @16: I thought the same thing, but I also thought that they’ve been fairly clear that if you can’t see the ball on the ground they’re going to let the call go as called. If l’Affaire Bohm taught us anything, it’s that you’re not allowed to draw inferences from the laws of physics on replay. (Alternatively, if the lesson is ‘Whenever you have the choice, screw the Braves,’ then it comes out differently, but I don’t think that’s the lesson, even as it sometimes feels like it.)

    Also, I have no idea whether baseball catch rules are anything like football catch rules, in that I don’t think the ball can touch the ground at all, which, if I’m right would make it obviously not a catch in fact, however they wanted to call it. [PS: I just read the catch rule and it is not clear. It depends on the definition of “firmly.”]

  17. Another sad thing about rosters expanding by only 2 is that we’ll never get to see Sean Kazmar. His 0 for 2 this year combined with 40 or so at bats with San Diego will probably be all the major leagues he ever sees. Of course. 225 with a .663 ops in AAA this year doesn’t exactly scream call up.

  18. Re: Joc — his route wasn’t great, but I think the awkwardness of the catch was due to that weird cut out in the padding. It looked like he jumped expecting to hit the wall with his left shoulder as he caught the ball, but instead he still had a foot+ to go before he finally hit the chain link fence window. He didn’t seem happy about it either. He was shaking his glove afterwards like he might’ve hurt himself.

  19. I think the question the replay officials try to answer on every play is, “How can this help the Cardinals?”

  20. I guess Pederson can’t play second, but Ozzie looks like he would be a better defensive CF than anyone on the roster except maybe Heredia. Certainly goes back on the ball well. Of course he might also be the team’s 2nd best defensive SS.

  21. Garbage.
    A 3 pitch inning. fly balls barreled and caught at the track. 1st and 3rd 3 times for swanson and he has turned into a pumpkin. Multiple double plays.

    At least Ynoa had another 6inning, 2 ER outing, even with less than optimal command.

  22. This is a good role for Martin…pitching when it really doesn’t matter. He isn’t a high leverage guy any more

  23. ‘ DAY IN THE LIFE’

    AM… Manchester City 5 Arsenal 0

    PM… S. Francisco Giants 5 Atlanta Braves 0

    MIDNIGHT…. NIGHTMARE ! (Nothing to do with sports)

    3am, …… Now. Must make of all this what I will.

    Tea, anyone?

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