Braves have lead, Will Smith pitches, you can guess what happened next

At a certain point, you just have to try something different. The answer can’t be this, because this clearly isn’t the answer. 

Will Smith blew another save tonight. The Braves were one strike away from their best win of the season, and he gave up a game-tying home run to Donovan Solano. That’s his fourth blown save in a little over a month. He has surrendered six home runs in his last 18 appearances, and just blew his fourth save in that time period as the Braves fell 6-5 in 11 innings. 

No, the Braves don’t have Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, and yes I acknowledge there is no obvious closer. And I am aware Will Smith makes closer money, and that makes him the closer no matter what. 

But this cannot possibly be it. You cannot possibly keep using the same closer who has thrown three 1-2-3 innings in his last 23 appearances and expecting different results. Maybe it’s Luke Jackson, maybe it’s Tyler Matzek, maybe it’s just closer-by-committee for a couple weeks.  But this isn’t it, and it can’t continue to be it for the final 16 games. 

Hopefully someone wakes up before it’s too late. 

Positives: 

  • They came out and scored two runs in the top of the 1st inning and for a moment, all was right with the world. 
  • Travis d’Arnaud hit the biggest homer of the season for this team and once again, all was right with the world for that moment. 
  • The bullpen with the exception of Smith held up really well. Martin, Minter and Newcomb had big innings in relief of Anderson and Matzek extended the game for another inning with a nerves-of-steel groundout against NL MVP candidate Brandon Crawford
  • The middle of the lineup showed something approaching the form it did for most of August. Freeman, Austin Riley and Adam Duvall had two hits apiece, including some scorchers. That is going to have to continue over the final 16 games for this team to have a chance to get where it wants to go. 

Negatives: 

  • Will Smith. 
  • Y’all, Kevin freaking Gausman walked the game off. Kevin. Gausman. 
  • I am going to type it again because it deserves to be named and shamed again. Kevin Gausman walked the game off. 
  • We all stayed up until almost 1 AM to watch that emotionally crippling game. 
  • Ian Anderson struggled again, even if it was against one of the best lineups in baseball. 
  • The Braves are 2-for-37 at the plate in the 10th inning this season. I’m just as surprised as you are that they have two hits. 
  • It’s beginning to feel a lot like 2011. 
  • Please don’t make me write more about that game. 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

Do I seriously even need to say who it is?

Quote Of The Game:

My life is nothing but a comedy.”
— The Joker

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Don’t let Will Smith pitch. That’s pretty much the bar for success right now.

31 thoughts on “Braves have lead, Will Smith pitches, you can guess what happened next”

  1. Thanks for the nice recap, Alan. Yep, Hancock’s gotta be done in that role. Hope Chris Martin will show some improvement, but it’s going to be down to Luke and Matzek from now on. Wake up, Snit!

  2. Thanks so much, Alan. Your dedication is unmatched. I had to get up very early on Friday so about 9:30 last night I decided not to watch at all and went to sleep pretty promptly. So glad I didn’t force myself to stay up. Must have been excruciating.

    Agree completely about Hancock. Time to try something else.

    But the pen overall has been quite good for the last couple of months. If we can make the playoffs, I still think our chances aren’t bad at all. The poor record in one run games and the absurd lack of hitting in extra innings is mainly a matter of bad luck (just as the late inning and close game success the last three years was largely good luck).

    So I’m going to believe that the luck is about to change and the team is about to go on a good run.

  3. I guess it’s time to try someone else. But Smith will still be pitching plenty even if it’s not the 9th.

  4. I was at the Nats game last night watching the Rockies do to them the same thing they did to us and the Phils. Seems like they’re not the same team that has been so bad on the road.

    We’re experiencing the downside of the high of our deadline acquisitions – a regression to the mean. RichRod has struggled, as well as Joc and Soler, too. What we need is enough time for everything to even out and some breaks go our way. Our offense comes back to Ozzie and Soler going 0-9 with 4 Ks. Anderson was not great but was doomed by his first walk. By contrast, the Giants issued 0 walks (maybe this can be also attributed to Braves’ hitters lack of patience).

    I am not ready to call DOOMED. These last couple of weeks have seen an abundance of very close games and I do think the team is worn down. I wouldn’t mind seeing a little shake-up in the lineup. Why not try Rosario at lead-off? Maybe it’s time for Minter to get a chance to close? Can we get Muller back for a couple of starts? We’ve got games against the D’Backs, the fading Padres, and the hot mess Mets. There is every reason to believe we can pull this thing out.

  5. Maybe I’m wrong because I haven’t checked the stats, but it seems like our starters have been shaky outside of Morton and Fried lately.

  6. I just looked and it’s been two full weeks since we had a blowout win or loss. All these close games, I’m sure, are extremely stressful and tiring. In fact, other than the blowout at Colorado, the last prior blowout was against the Giants in Aug. One easy win and we could be right back on the horse again.

    Oh, and the last blowout loss was to the Giants’ Webb. Today is a good day to turn it around.

  7. The starters haven’t been shutdown, but they haven’t been getting knocked out. Still, they’re going 3-5 innings and giving up 3-4 runs, which puts the team behind the eight-ball. The pen has been mostly great. The offense has really flagged. I’d guess we’re scoring a full run per game less than we were a month ago.

  8. I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
    I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in Atlanta, that a young healthy Left-Handed Closer well nursed, is, at 32 years old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasee, or a ragoust.
    I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the six blown saves, already computed, twenty thousand may be prevented. A Left-Handed Closer will make two dishes at an entertainment for fans, and when the club dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

  9. I was actually thinking Smith had somewhat turned a corner. He looked good against the first 2 batters and I thought it was going to be a 1 – 2 – 3 inning. Man was I stupid!

  10. @14 Chief, if you saw them last week against Mercer, you wouldn’t think it was the same team. Flat last week. Sharp this week.

  11. These guys choking .. not patient .. 1st and 3rd no out .. kkk … like I said Phils be in 1st when we get home

  12. Can’t catch a flipping break.. what else gonna happen …Phils 1 game out .. 1 run games killing us … Rockies games hurt and last night

  13. What is Ozzie 0 -30 ??? Last night looks like took it out of them .. Giants play tremendous defense .. some guys seem tired …. I thinks Phils pitching puts them past us now combined with our hitting wows ..

  14. @24

    No doubt. And once again, the Braves are befuddled in an opponent’s “bullpen game.” That seems to happen way too often.

  15. @14

    Whomp, whomp, whoooooooomp.

    Chief, how many times are you going to do this to yourself?

    Meanwhile, Georgia couldn’t even score an offensive touchdown against Clemson, and Clemson barely escaped Georgia Tech. Couple of juggernauts right there.

    Bring on Georgia. Let’s see how we do against Bama again in December when Anthony Richardson is healthy.

    @19

    I just can’t watch this collapse right now. Even before tonight’s game I was thinking that this feels like 2011.

  16. will smith MUST BE DFA’ed NOW, NO MORE PITCHING FOR THIS TEAM, webb EITHER, THEY HAVE COST US THREE GAMES ON THIS TRIP, THEY SHOULD NEVER PLAY FOR ATLANTA AGAIN.

    TIME TO FIRE THIS WORTHLESS MANAGER STUPID snit. HE HAS NO IDEA HOW TO USE PITCHERS AND HAS COST US HOW MANY games bringing in home run SMITH, A BATTING PRACTICE PITCHER…. NOTHING MORE. RELEASE HIM BEFORE THE SECOND GAME IN SAN DIEGO WHICH WE WILL LOSE AND ATLANTA WILL NOT WIN THE EAST. GOOD TRY BUT smith, webb AND stinker MUST BE FIRED RELEASED TONIGHT !

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !

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