Braves and Antacid Manufacturers 2, Phillies 1

Charlie Morton and Zach Wheeler were as advertised. Will Smith was (nearly) as feared. The slightly better team won by just enough. What are you expecting, a detailed recap of a seven-hit game?

If I were JonathanF, of course, I’d spend the next seven paragraphs describing a complex statistical analysis I performed for fun on a SQL database of all of the recorded statistics in baseball history to elucidate a particular key point in the game — maybe an deep dive into “Hibernation Mode,” and if I had his acumen, I might even be able to explain to you why the hell the Braves, who put together a three-hit, two-run rally in the third, went to sleep for the rest of the game, mustering just four baserunners: two walks, one single, and one via error.

Meanwhile, Morton was superlative. He wasn’t exactly underrated in baseball the last few years, among baseball fans in the know: he was an All-Star in Houston in 2018, and again in Tampa in 2019, when he finished third in the Cy Young vote. But somehow, he’s flown somewhat under the radar this year, I think, maybe even among Braves fans.

Tonight, he went seven innings. He allowed two hits to begin the game, and after that he basically shut the door for good, yielding just a single and two walks while recording the next 21 outs. His 10 strikeouts give him 213 for the year. That’s the most recorded by a Braves starter since Javier Vazquez struck out 238 in his magical 2009 campaign, and it’s literally one of only four Atlanta 200-strikeout seasons since 2000, along with Vazquez in 2009, Smoltz in 2006, and — I bet you could win a bet on this question in just about any bar in America — Foltynewicz in 2018.

In fact, if you dial the clock back a bit further, you find that Morton has the seventh-highest season strikeout total in Braves franchise history:

  1. Smoltz, 1996, 276
  2. Niekro, 1977, 262
  3. Niekro, 1978, 248
  4. Smoltz, 1997, 241
  5. Vazquez, 2009, 238
  6. Smoltz, 1992, 215
  7. Morton, 2021, 213

He is a special pitcher.

Of course, Will Smith loaded the bases in the ninth. This time, he gave up a leadoff walk followed by a scorching liner that Heredia fortunately corralled, but wasn’t so lucky on the next batter, when Rosario boofed a flyball for a two-base error. An intentional walk and a sac fly later, the lead was cut in half, and then Freddy Galvis struck out to seal the win.

I just transcribed this verbatim from Snit’s post-game press conference:

“Will did a great job. Will’s done awesome. The last three days, this guy’s done nothing but answer the phone and deliver. I can’t see anything but positive in what this guy’s been doing. His stuff’s probably as good today as in the last four days he’s thrown.”

Methinks he doth protest too much, of course, but that’s why the guys love the skipper. I can’t blame Snitker publicly backing his guy, because he believes that you keep the dirty laundry in the clubhouse. I can only blame Snitker for not giving himself any room whatsoever to leave his options open. But as long as the team scrapes a victory out of the detritus of Will Smith’s leadoff walks and hanging sliders, it’s hard for me to be anything but ecstatic that the magic number keeps decreasing.

83 thoughts on “Braves and Antacid Manufacturers 2, Phillies 1”

  1. Enthusiasm trumps SQL queries all night long. But thank you, sir.

    I think I’ve already said several times how wrong I was about the Morton signing, so I want to apologize not just to Braves Journal, but to the entire Morton family, particularly his three-year-old Emilia who had a birthday yesterday — Emilia: your daddy can chuck the rock.

    BTW: the fact that Warren Spahn never struck out 200 guys despite leading the league in strikeouts 4 times is amazing to me.

  2. Long time reader/never poster, back to the Mac days, but wanted to say, having just got back to the hotel from the game (first time at Truist) it was a Mylanta night, for sure. But it was great to see so many kids at the park (on a school night, ahem) rooting their hearts out for the Bravos.

    Morton is a gem. Such a breaking ball; it was almost reminiscent of Knucksie. The home team was fortunate to get the two runs against Wheeler, I think…who really knows, sitting in the cheap seats? It’s a win, though!

    And it’s nice to watch a game not having the slightest concern about what Chip was spouting.

  3. Great win. Actually, the more Smith gets out of these jams, the more confidence he should get. Hopefully that leads to an improved performance. Hopefully…

  4. I would love it if he developed enough confidence in where the hell the strike zone is to stop walking the leadoff man.

  5. @5 – I agree about walking the leadoff man, but walking Harper was probably one of the better pitch sequences sequences Smith had. He would not give in and Harper fouled off some good pitches. I felt like it was mostly a good at bat by Bryce. My fear was Smith would finally hang a change up like he’s done quite often recently and it would be 2 to 1 after the first bstter. The next 2 rockets were what scared me.

  6. Alex, you at your best, thank you. Before the game I had posted my Davy Johnson sequel as promised but somehow it never appeared. Will try again, when the hurley burley’s done.

  7. @6

    Yes, the rockets red glare, two of them. Heredia coped admirably with the first. Rosario shockingly inept on the second. Did I imagine a collective gasp, a momentary silence? He’s a lucky man – if things had ended differently, well, he might have been remembered for it rather than for his all round excellence.

  8. Will Smith, the conundrum. You’ve got to love the guy, yes you do. When you’re the people’s darling, life is so much easier. When you are being continually vilified, (between saves for pete’s sake!), then you might ask yourself, what about our hitters then, some margin maybe, once in a while?

    Me, I just love that huge smile on the last call, the relief, literally.

  9. Also, don’t forget the Gregorius sac fly was probably hit harder than either the Realmuto liner or the Vierling error. That ball was SCORCHED. But, if Rosario catches that ball, which he should have done, then who knows what happens with McCutcheon. So, I gotta give Smith credit for hanging in there and pitching around the E.

  10. Charlie Morton
    did you know his father learned it all at Wharton?
    sinuous business curves he’d artfully embellish
    transposed to Charlie’s pitching notes, for hitters, hellish.

    Smitty @ 12….you never told us what your barber made of AA’s package at the deadline. My guess is he was absolutely the first to spot its brilliance. What’s he saying now, told you so?

  11. Mr. Remington,

    Excellence in word, as usual.

    Last night was one of the few games I have been able to watch this year (Bally v. TouTube TV). And, I was scared to watch too much for fear of jinxing them. Btu I saw enough to see 2 excellent starting pitchers near the tops of their games. And I am decidedly happy that I did not see the Rotten Prince’s finish.

  12. So, speaking as someone who did not watch the game live yesterday but just reviewed the 9th inning via the game highlights clip that Blazon attached:
    – wish I could have seen the Harper AB; I am sure he battled but with the Braves up 2 and Harper not being able to tie the game, Smith should have basically forced him to hit his way onto the bases. If he hits a HR… it’s not much more damaging that a simple walk would be under the circumstances. Smith hasn’t had anything resembling pinpoint control this season though, walks are just part of his game.
    – oof, that error by Rosario was rough. Drops that bad are quite rare for major league outfielders.
    – the pitch Galvis struck out on was a 93 MPH fastball, no movement, center-center location. The Braves are lucky that Galvis is terrible at the plate (.246/.292/.387 career).
    – Here’s a fun (?) comparison*:
    Will Smith (2021) – 36 SV, 66 IP, 84 K, 3.55 ERA
    Edwin Diaz (2021)- 31 SV, 61 2/3 IP, 87 K, 3.5 ERA
    * DISCLAIMER: these guys have actually not had similar seasons by any advanced metrics. Diaz is superior.

  13. I still don’t get the angst about Will Smith. Other than 9/24, which I’m told actually happened in July, he hasn’t given up a hit since September 18!

  14. For all those who think there are no better alternatives to Chip, I offer the following:

    And here’s the money quote: “The last thing you want to do is call a play wrong,” she said. “So, I called it with a little bit of that trepidation of just wanting to make sure that you had it, was he safe, was he out?”

    I’m going to listen to her tonight after our game ends.

    And on a not-completely-different topic, Keith Law ranks Riley 10th for NL MVP.

  15. I don’t smoke, but the last night’s 9th was definitely a full-pack inning. Very post-season, indeed.

    Had some admiration for Harper’s well-earned walk, but Rosario’s error made everything seem horribly inevitable.

    It was Didi’s AB that scared me the most. Too many times, I saw him (as a Yankee) hit big HRs off lefties. And he hit a rope last night.

    Morton was amazing, that win was great, but… I’m not sure how many more of these we can take. Let’s close this deal quickly, Max.

  16. Ender became a bad baseball player, but he was a good baseball player for a long time, was worth more than his contract, and seems to always have been a good man and teammate. I hope he finds his way back to the org in some capacity.

  17. Wow the bit about Braves pitchers with 200 K seasons since 2000 blew my mind. There have been 248 individual pitcher seasons with 200 strikeouts since 2000. For the Braves to only have had 4 of them is… wow.

    I love Tom Glavine as much as the next guy, but the franchise sure stuck with the pitch-to-contact sinkerballers philosophy way too deep into the 21st century.

  18. @Val

    Hey! Thanks for coming on and sharing your thoughts. We are a welcoming bunch so please, feel free to keep commenting! Did you get to Truist early? How was your experience at the park?

  19. @20

    Agree 100 per cent on Ender. Particularly your acknowledgment that he was ‘worth more than his contract’ which tended to be overlooked by many who panned him.

  20. One aspect about last night’s 9th that puzzled and horrified me was the fact that Newcomb was warming up during the last couple of at bats. I think clearly Snit was committed to Smith finishing the inning no matter what. But remember he went 3-0 on Galvis and it sure looked like he was about to walk the bases loaded. I was wondering if that happened whether he would turn to Matzek. The worst option would have been to summon Newk with the bases loaded.
    So perhaps he was getting Newcomb loose to pitch the 10th if there was one. But that doesn’t make sense either. Matzek, Minter, Webb, or even Chavez would make more sense for the 10th.

  21. @21, I think there’s much to what you say — although the Tim Hudson experiment was a major success, the Lowe experiment was clearly less so. But I don’t think it’s entirely the team’s fault. The regression of Foltzie was a real shame for the team, particularly as his All-Star campaign made it look like he’d be a major part of the post-rebuild success, and Tommy Hanson’s inability to stay healthy meant that he never came particularly close to crossing a threshold that he likely had the talent to surpass.

    I just spent too long looking into this, but this supports your point. Interestingly, since 2000, Atlanta has the fifth-most pitcher-seasons with 200+ innings (27 such pitcher-seasons, though none since 2015), but nevertheless the Braves have only the 23rd-most seasons with 200+ strikeouts.

  22. @25

    If he did they should make him mayor. And unusually modest for him to restrict himself to one name at deadline time. I always tend to associate him with complex packages, perhaps he’s showing his age. But Soler was very, very good. Our compliments, please.

  23. My biggest beef with Ender was never about Ender, rather that the Braves didn’t sell high on him after the 2018 season. Many think I “hated” him, which is just silly. I don’t know him. His offensive skills were depleting and his legs were the only thing keeping him from turning average real quick. I started making fake trades for him that offseason. Boy…did I catch it.

  24. @26


    There is no logic involved here on this particular issue. There are times with other individuals where it seems you can see flickers of it appear but never with Smith who has effectively silenced that part of Snit’s persona to the point where the gut rules all. Any connection with the brain is pure happenstance something I myself will be happy to confirm to you next week when my much delayed visit with a lady in a white coat takes place. It’s my gut she’s after.

  25. @30

    There was something ‘vulnerable’ about him that several of us picked up on. That’s why you caught it.

  26. @27 – Yeah I spent too long as well, haha. But it is an interesting way to look at SP staffs over the last two decades. There does seem to be a correlation with relative franchise success and number of 200+ K seasons, which I guess should be obvious. Good pitchers who stay healthy rack up strikeouts -> Good pitching makes better teams -> Better teams enjoy more success.

    I’d embed the graph I made by team, but I have no clue how to do that on here.

    KC Royals brought up the rear with exactly ONE 200 K season since 2000. Anybody care to guess who that was?

  27. Obviously, that was a Bobby Cox level defense of his guy by Snit last night on Smith. He made him sound like he deserves the Cy Young Award or something, and obviously if you take what he said at face value it’s a bit much…however, that wasn’t the point of it.

    And anyway, the hatred folks have for him has clouded the fact that he’s probably in his best run of form so far this year. He’s legitimately pitching better since giving up the first game in San Francisco. He’s mixing in his fastball a lot more (in fact, I would guess a majority of his strikeouts since then have come on the fastball), and his slider’s been way better. I don’t think he’s hung a slider over the plate since that game in San Francisco.

    The home run he gave up to Tatis in San Diego was to one of the best hitters in the game on a 3-2 count…I mean, gonna happen occasionally. And it was on a high fastball, not his signature hanging slider…so even that was different. When he was at his worst, he was hanging meatball sliders to nobodies and it would be like the fifth slider he’d thrown them in a row…he’s not doing that now. He’s clearly changed his approach a bit.

    If you still think you’d rather have Matzek as your closer with Smith pitching like this, you’re entitled to that opinion, but acting like Smith is pitching the same now as he did in late August/early September to justify that opinion isn’t particularly helpful IMO. I think it’s similarly unhelpful to suggest that they’re just running him out there without a thought in the world or any adjustments. While they didn’t demote him (which is what everyone wanted), they clearly had him make adjustments to his approach. And it has worked, at least to some extent.

  28. I agree a little and disagree a little. For example, over his last six appearances from September 15 to September 28 — in other words, everything after early September — he has a 1.50 ERA, but also a 4.16 FIP. In six innings, he’s given up one hit, but it was a homer, and he’s given up five walks. That’s a BABIP of .000! (He’s also recorded 11 strikeouts over those six innings, which is undeniably great.)

    So… has he been good? Has he been bad?

    Depends on what you’re asking. The results haven’t been bad. The process has been pretty cardially infarctatory.

  29. “The results haven’t been bad. The process has been pretty cardially infarctatory.”

    … which is the difference between WPA and every other metric, all of which measure process. Smith entered the game last night with the Braves holding a 92% chance of winning, and left with a 100% chance. Good day! The fact that the probability fell to 71% at the low point of the half-inning is between you and your cardiologist.

    BTW: as egregious as Rosario’s error was, he wouldn’t have made it against a lazy fly to left. That part is attributable to Hancock as well.

  30. OK .. Duvall retained should be a given … They will let Peterson walk … OK ..anybody think they try to keep Rosario or Soler ??? depends on Ozuna is suspended for year .. if he is they I try to keep one .. and Rosario being LH hitter makes better sense ..but I like Soler and his patience . with Acuna back in CF or RF .. and Duval in lF maybe Soler and Rosario both sign and rotate RF .. and with DH more than likely the other can DH … thoughts ?? but Rosario and soler may seek greener pastures …

  31. Regarding Ender: It was an outstanding trade that brought he and Dansby to Atlanta. He was an above average offensive and tremendous defensive CF for his first few years in Atlanta. The leg injuries did him in defensively to the point he was a liability. He never had a great arm. Yes, he was underpaid most of those years. However, I seem to see his personality differently. He was probably one of the most petulant and pouty players I can remember. He whined about ever called strike. it was easy to overlook when he was a good player. I don’t know how many of you are on Twitter but if you ever say anything negative about Ender, he blocks you. Its like he searches out for negative posts about himself. So far I am good with him but he is really childish.

  32. @37 Ozuna will never wear an Atlanta Braves uniform again so it doesn’t matter what happens to that loser. The longer the suspension the better for the payroll.

    Duvall will return. I’m guessing there will be mutual interest with Soler. No to Pederson. Maybe with Rosario. Ronald likely misses the start of next season I have heard.

  33. @36

    In a parallel universe where Smith gives up a hit to Galvis and blows the save, I’m guessing you’d have found it pretty uncompelling (if that’s a word) if I’d said, “As egregious as Smith’s blown save was, it wouldn’t have happened if his left fielder had been able to make a play that every single left fielder in MLB should make without exception. That blown save was on Rosario.”

    It’s pretty hard to get an error for letting a ball drop as an outfielder. They’ll look for any excuse to give the batter a hit on those. When a major league outfielder gaks a routine outfield play so bad that everyone agrees it was a straight error, that’s not on the pitcher.

  34. @40: that’s a fair point, Nick, and I give Rosario 82.7 percent of the blame for his error… But no more. My only point is that Smith gets some blame. (And by the way, under WPA he gets all of the blame, which is clearly too high. But it comes with the territory in WPA. A more nuanced WPA would factor in the difficulty of a play to apportion credit, and while that data exists, nobody is factoring it in… yet.)

  35. @33 I assumed you were asking a joke question and that it must be like Kyle Davies or somebody who probably simultaneously put up a 5+ ERA due to a similar number of walks, but Greinke makes sense. I resent the review of Kyle Davies’ bref page that you’ve inflicted on me.

  36. Not nearly as much as Stu resented the Braves trading Kyle Davies for Octavio Dotel!

    (I hope you’re still lurking, Stu. Love and miss you!)

  37. Well Cindy, you have taught me something today I had no idea of! Blocks you on twitter eh! I would not have guessed.

  38. @22 Thanks, Ryan. Got to Truist just after the parking lot behind the Weather Channel building opened at 5:30. Somebody (you?) had recommended the Red parking deck, but when you do things at the last minute the close-in lots are full. Surprise. So it was a little hike to the park.

    The park itself is good, although not sure if the fan experience is any really any better than Turner Field (I was in the 200 level). It’s what’s around the park that’s better. Incidentally, my first Braves game was in 1983, a staggering 38 years ago. Sigh.

    I don’t know how it came across on TV, but at times the crowd noise was so loud I literally couldn’t hear what my friend in the next seat was saying, and he was yelling in my ear. The college guys behind us came up with some really creative and high-volume insults for Harper in particular. I loved it! Not since Pete Rose was being heckled at Fulton County Stadium have I enjoyed such a fusillade of abuse at an opposing player. :)

    After the game someone was offering $10 cash for the giveaway Brian McCann bobbleheads, so it will be interesting to see what they sell for on Ebay.

    Thanks for all the great recaps and comments this year…I do miss Eephus, though.

  39. @38, fwiw, at the 2019 ChopFest, Ender was very nice to my 15-year-old son even though he was probably tired near the end of a long and rainy day.

  40. I paid $35 + shipping for my McCann bobblehead. I can’t believe people sell them for $10 at the game. It’s very easy to sell things on ebay.

  41. Not sure why Jeff & Chip are talking about how young Max is – he’s almost 28 and has been a professional for 9 years.

  42. @37 @39 The OF retention discussion will be really interesting. Duvall and Pederson are controllable.
    Duvall will be the cheapest even with a big arb raise. But he is also the oldest. Pederson is ostensibly the most expensive but if Soler and Rosario get raises then they may be more expensive. Joc and Soler are both under 30 for the time being. They are all four similar with subtle differences.

    Based upon lineups, if you’re gonna keep three (assuming Ronald added and Ozuna eliminated and the DH), then Pederson has been designated as the odd man out. However, if Soler or Rosario want more than the Braves will offer then Pederson maybe asked to come back.

  43. @48 They should definitely know better, but I weirdly thought Max Fried was wayyyy younger than he is. I thought he was 24 or something. I’m not sure why I thought that. Must be his baby face.

    Another note about Fried: did someone see on a stat graphic last night that Fried had made 29 starts? I specifically remember that because I was going to mention that it’s noteworthy that Fried has stayed healthy to have another 30-start season. But apparently this is only his 28th start. I wonder how many other stats on the broadcast are wrong.

  44. Good work Max. Yeah, I was surprised too that he is 28 yrs old. Feels alot younger.

    Let’s not go into hibernation mode now.

  45. @52, Fried spent a relatively long time in the minors because of Tommy John surgery. He was drafted out of high school in 2012, pitched 2012, 2013, and a little of 2014 in the Padres’ system, I assume injuring his arm early in 2014, and was traded to Atlanta in December 2014 in the Justin Upton deal. Didn’t pitch at all in 2015, was in A-ball for the Braves in 2016, and was in the minors most of 2017 before being called up at the age of 23-1/2. He does look young.

    In AA and AAA in 2017, he went 2-11, 5.54 but got called up anyway. At a glance, his component numbers don’t look bad enough to result in that ERA, so maybe he was unlucky with sequencing or something, but calling him up was the right decision, as his highest MLB ERA has been 4.02 in 2019 when he went 17-6.

  46. Did you all hear Frenchy hint that AA was forcing Snit to use Smith as closer? Chip quickly changed the topic. I just don’t believe that.

  47. Why does Chip continually say Wholers turned heads because he threw 95? Wholers threw in the upper 90’s and at times hit 100mph. Am I missing something?

  48. Joc Pederson is wearing a pearl necklace and, honestly, I like it better than that platinum blonde hair he had going.

  49. @66–love the Rufino reference. Rosario does look a little like him—or maybe even Rico Carty—in left field.

  50. One to go…

    Unbelievable that they’re so close with all the injuries and stuff. Kudos to Snitker for keeping this team on track. (and for AA… executive of the year almost definitely)

  51. Every year, the Phillies Phold. Each of our division titles the last four years have been on the heels of a Phillies Phail.

    Braves have won 5 in a row and 9/10. Perfect way to finish the year. And it has been fueled by the last dreaded west coast road trip. Both of our big win streaks have been on the road.

  52. Can any of you explain to me why Bryce Harper has only scored 99 runs and driven in 82? I know RBIs are not important overall, but given his otherworldly OBP and his 1050 OPS, I would think he would have at least scored more runs. I understand that he’s played about 20 less games than Freeman, but he’s only been on base 15 less times and his slugging percentage is about 100 points higher. Still, Harper has the same number of RBIs as Freeman and has scored 18 fewer runs. Philadelphia has scored a few less runs as a team (771 to 721), but it still doesn’t explain the discrepancy in my mind.

    Should Harper be batting at a different spot in the order or should he have different people surrounding him in the lineup?

  53. They were about right on the Phillies. The Braves always seem to outperform BPro by a few wins, though.

    I just found a piece digging into that fact, in fact. The Braves really do seem to outperform the projected standings:

    One culprit may be that the systems haven’t really fully figured out the new stadium’s park factor. But the head of Baseball Prospectus, Craig Goldstein, gave this comment at the end of that piece, which more or less nailed the Braves’ win total:

    “‘It feels five or so wins light to me on Atlanta,’ said Goldstein.”


  54. @76 RBIs and runs are both team dependent stats as well as, like you said, positional dependent. Your leadoff and #2 hitters should be the guys who get on base and can hit. The Braves with Soler and Freddie at 1 and 2 are ideal. I would hit Riley 3rd and Ozzie 4th. You are setting the table for the power guys. My guess is that the Phillies lineup isn’t optimized …. or they just don’t have enough good players around him.

    I just checked. Herrera hit leadoff tonight. He has a .314 OBP and 95 wRC+. That was a terrible choice. Segura is fine at #2.

  55. @76, yep and yep. The regular leadoff hitter is Odubel Herrera, he of the .316 season OBP. The offense has gone pretty pear-shaped for them: McCutchen’s been okay, and Segura and Realmuto have been pretty good, and Hoskins was good but they were devastated by his injury. However, Alec Bohm and Didi Gregorius suffered truly catastrophic seasons that lead one to question whether they’ll be productive major league hitters again. And Ronald Torreyes is Ronald Torreyes. The team has really poor depth, partly because they traded away all of their high-rated prospects in a desire to win now, and partly because of the Klentak regime’s awful draft record, capped by the Mickey Moniak 1-1 bust.

    Actually, the draft misery goes back a long ways before that. Since taking Cole Hamels with the 17th overall pick of the 2002 draft, here’s what they’ve gotten in the first round:

    2003: None. (They gave up this pick to sign Jim Thome.)
    2004: Greg Golson — .458 OPS in 41 career at-bats.
    2005: None. (They gave up this pick to sign Jon Lieber.)
    2006: Kyle Drabek — he was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade, so clearly a win for the Phillies, but he blew out his arm and tallied a 5.26 ERA in 43 games in the bigs.
    2006, supplemental: Adrian Cardenas — .552 OPS in 60 career at-bats.
    2007: Joe Savery — another one ruined by injuries. 3.83 ERA in 44 games in the bigs.
    2007, supplemental: Travis d’Arnaud — He’s been injured a lot too, but a very good hitter when healthy, and he was another key component in the Halladay trade. This counts as a win.
    2008: Anthony Hewitt — never made the majors.
    2008, supplemental: Zach Collier — never made the majors.
    2009: None. (They gave up this pick to sign Raul Ibanez.)
    2010: Jesse Biddle — you remember him. A bad concussion derailed his career. Sadly, his rookie year in the Atlanta bullpen in 2018 was his only good season.
    2011: None. (They gave up this pick to sign Cliff Lee.)
    2011, supplemental: Larry Greene — never made the majors.
    2012, supplemental: Mitch Gueller and Shane Watson — they made two supplemental round picks this year, nothing in the primary part of the first round (I can’t figure out why), and neither made the majors.
    2013: J.P. Crawford — centerpiece of the Segura trade. Pretty good player.
    2014: Aaron Nola — number one starter.
    2015: Cornelius Randolph — he’s in Triple-A. Still only 24, but he hasn’t really hit.
    2016: Mickey Moniak — .432 OPS in 47 big league AB. Still only 23, but he hasn’t really hit in the minors and he was dreadful in a cup of coffee.
    2017: Adam Haseley — .716 OPS across 531 AB. A good hitter at UVA, he has regressed since his callup, receiving 242 PA in 2019 but only 92 PA last year and just 21 this year. Already 25, his career appears at a crossroads.
    2018: Alec Bohm — also 25. He was terrific last year, finishing second in the ROY vote, but his OPS tumbled 200 points this year and he earned a ticket back to the minors. His career is also at a crossroads.

    That’s quite a decade and a half. The only clear successes are Nola and Crawford, in back to back years. Drabek and d’Arnaud served as valuable trade chips, as did Crawford. Bohm still has a chance, though this year was a terrible setback. And that’s about it.

    Woof. No wonder Harper doesn’t have anybody to drive in.

  56. Woof indeed…there was a single performance last night that we were all waiting for and, finally, was delivered. An excruciating few weeks prior came to an end at the plate from a series of at bats that excited memories. Solid contact, power to the opposite field, dashing base running. Dansby was his old self and should no longer have to justify his presence simply by his brilliant defense. Something has clicked back in for him that he won’t forget, I have every confidence in the games ahead.

    We need that bat, and back higher in the order. Neither Freddie or Riley have looked comfortable these last two nights, there has been little hard contact from either and both have a multitude of strike outs. Riley’s double late last night was his first meaningful contribution to the party. We need Freddie to look more comfortable at the plate. Both these needs will likely be met if they see Dansby back in the power fold.

    Oppo, oppo.

    PS..Watching Max blow Harper away, repetitively, was pure excitement. Wow, that must be a huge thrill. JTR too. One, two, how do you do.

  57. The only Philly hitters that scared me last night were rather a surprise, to put it mildly.

    Little Boy Blue with his 10 for 20 for one. Joe brought him along from the Yankees which speaks well, in this instance, for his judgment. You look at him, he is a tiger.

    As is the tall young man playing first base in the majors for the first time. And also making a quiet name for himself with the bat. Hard contact, I am beginning to seek it out, obsessively.

  58. Phillie fans have been complaining about Girardi. I can see the point with Herrera leading off. Even Snitker wouldn’t do would be like Heredia leading off. Over the course of the season the Braves have scored 50 more runs. Losing Hoskins hurt them but losing Ronald hurt us more.

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