Braves 3, Brewers 0

“Dance with the ones that brung you” is all-purpose advice. Sometimes, it seems like sage counsel, when the champions who excelled before manage to thrive once again. Sometimes it sounds like the desperate acknowledgement that there’s no one else: the money’s spent, the ships have been burned, and the government has officially disavowed the very existence of our organization. Sometimes, it’s the only thing you can think to say, when they’ve got a lefty on the bench, and they just announced a righty pinch hitter, and you’re running out of arms. It is a statement of lonely defiance.

It’s also a good idea.

Well, our’n beat their’n, their home field advantage is gone, and Austin Riley can literally order any damn thing he wants when I get him that beer I owe him.

Thus far, this series has been as advertised: the Brewer starting pitching and bullpen has been very good, and the Brewer offense has been anemic. But the Braves have matched ’em. Now we’ve got a day off and some home cooking, and we’ll let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. Here, in rich, luxurious detail, let us enjoy the present:

Varsity’s an ace. Pure and simple, Max Fried is one of the 15 best starters in Major League Baseball. It took him 81 pitches to record 18 outs, half of them by strikeout, yielding three hits and no walks.

Snit may have overcorrected in taking him out when he did — Charlie was clearly sucking wind in the sixth in the first game, and had no business going out for the seventh, far more than Max Fried tonight. But the only extra-base hit (or, for that matter, runner in scoring position) came in the sixth inning, and I generally don’t mind Snit reminding himself that you need to have a quick hook in the playoffs, and it’s better to err on the side of yanking a guy one batter too early than one batter too late. So I won’t complain too much about that, especially right before the day off.

Woodruff was good, though not perfect. Just like last night, we squandered a walk in the first and a bunt single and wild pitch in the second. But in the third inning, the Braves did their thing. Jorge Soler — whose installation at leadoff is one of my personal favorite Snitker moves this year — hit a laser down the line, Fredward singled him home, and Ozzie hit a damn-near-homer that turned into an RBI double, and yesterday’s double play was avenged.

Two runs didn’t feel like enough, and Austin Riley couldn’t have agreed more. He absolutely destroyed a ball to utter right-center, 428 feet worth of a 3-0 lead.

Well, our bullpen did about what it’s done the whole second half: bend, but not break. Luke Jackson got a couple outs in the seventh, then put two men on, and Matzek got a third out while the radio guys were blithely chirping about his league-leading regular season strand rate while I was futilely yelling at them not to jinx him. They didn’t. Inning over. He stayed in the game and got three more outs in the eighth. That dude’s good.

And then came the ninth. I am quite sure you will be unsurprised when I tell you that Will Smith did not get a 1-2-3 inning. He walked the $!*%ing leadoff man again, and then he gave up a single, bringing the tying run to the plate before giving a moment’s thought to getting an out. But then he got a flyout from Cain and a double play from third-string catcher Luke Maile — who was on to relieve backup catcher Manny Piña, who was in instead of Game 1 catcher Omar Narvaez.

Over two games, the series has essentially been exactly what we thought it would be: the pitching has been great and the hitting has been infrequent, on both sides. And Will Smith… yeah. But the Brewers are not indomitable, and our dudes are not outclassed. We’re leaving the land of the Violent Femmes and going home.

Dance with the ones that brung you. Let’s play some baseball!

63 thoughts on “Braves 3, Brewers 0”

  1. I really like the theme of “dance with the ones that brung ya'”. Thanks for that and great recap, Alex.

    Oh, and the Violent Femmes reference doesn’t hurt. :))

  2. These are the guys that are going to be pitching 7-8-9. Order won’t change much. So buckle up for bumpy (and exciting) October!

    Let’s dance!

  3. Matzek looked overpowering, as good as I’ve ever seen him look. The slider was filthy, even when he wasn’t getting calls on clear strikeout pitches.

  4. Splitting on the road is huge. You have to think Milwaukee feels on their heels a little.

  5. The split is huge mostly because winning three in a row, especially when the teams are so evenly matched, is hard. To use a WPA analogy, we increased our chances of winning the series by about .375 (compared to a loss in game 2).

  6. I also thought pulling Fried after six was a mistake, although in the end we still won. The difference between Morton and Fried was that Morton was losing command in the 6th, while Fried was not. There is no doubt in my mind that pulling Fried was a reaction to the outcome from the previous game. If Morton somehow made it through 7, Fried would have been sent out there to do the same.

  7. @8, I was ok with it. If you assume Smith will start the 9th (sigh), then that’s just two innings for Jackson and Matzek to cover, and I can see assuming that the marginal one of those two is not much worse than a still-looking-good-but-pitchers-often-lose-it-in-the-7th Fried. The off day tomorrow helps Jackson and Matzek (though I’ll be nervous about Matzek Monday anyway), and now Fried is probably more rested for a possible Game 5 if they lose Monday and ditch the bullpen game.

    P.S. According to BRef, Fried has more career WAR than Morton. Didn’t expect that.

  8. @9, you are absolutely correct that Smith was destined to pitch the 9th regardless, but if I have to bet my house on Fried/Jackson/Matzek vs. Jackson/Matzek to get me through 2 scoreless, I’m going with the former.

  9. I didn’t want to first guess as solicited yesterday because I wasn’t real confident in my answer, but by pulling Max at 81 pitches, you could conceivably bring him back and relief if necessary. And the pen was pretty rested.

    I heard this debate ad nauseum here locally last year when Kevin Cash pulled Blake Snell early. There’s no right answer to the fact that every pitcher is pretty significantly more likely to give up a run in the seventh than your third best reliever is. There are very few pitchers in the entire league that are less likely to give up a run in the seventh-inning than a good reliever.

    And what’s silly is there seems to be a difference in the rationale if the pitchers’ pitch count is in the 70’s (Snell was at 75 pitches, IIRC), and Fried was in the 80’s (81). What does it matter? Every pitcher is different.

  10. @6. “Chinese-state affiliated media”…yeah, no thanks. Also, can we save the anti-Braves (yeah, sorry, that’s the name of the team) SJW crusading for not during the playoffs? This is Cardinals-level subversion.

    Our favorite team won a huge game last night. Let’s focus on that and not boutique-issue self-promotion.

  11. @13
    Self-promotion? Dude. Also, this was filmed in April and was just published. I figured if I could put this anywhere, it’s here.

    Mac had a rule…don’t insult the leader. Not cool, man.

    Also, the dude is a Brit.

    And, as you know, when talking to the media, rarely does the full story come out. I spoke in length about A relationship I’ve made with one of the leaders of the Choctaw nation and how he thinks the Braves should not be on the cancel culture block, rather they should work toward a peaceful resolution with Native American communities. They’re doing that. I then ended by say, “but…if they chose to change their name, the Hammers would be a great way to honor the greatest player in franchise history.”

  12. Agree – the relatively early hook for Max definitely makes it easier for him to come back on three days’ rest, if we get that far.

  13. I don’t get this argument. If he starts or appears in game 5 it will be on normal 4 days rest. We aren’t seeing him before then.

  14. @16, but 4 days rest is a bit less than normal – after his first start, he started on 4 days rest 10 times this season, on 5 days rest 10 times, on 6 days rest 4 times, and on more than 6 days rest 3 times. His (very successful) last two starts of the season were the only times all year he pitched on 4 days rest after pitching into the 7th of the previous game.

    Even though those two starts went very well, I think the slightly early hook makes it less likely that he’ll be tired if he has to pitch Game 5. It also gave the team a slightly better chance of scoring when he was pinch-hit for (& it nearly paid off after Pederson’s single when Soler almost homered).

  15. @cliff

    He wanted an interview with me about the Hammers after it went viral. I gave it to him. There’s nothing in the piece that’s remotely offensive to anyone. My stance has stayed the same. I like the name Hammers should Braves choose to change. I stated that in the piece. Owen was very kind and did not try to belittle the people he talked with, unlike many media members.

  16. @9 easy to forget at this point that Morton had a career negative WAR until 2017. He was very bad early in his career, and it took him awhile to work through the negative value he’d accumulated.

  17. @6 Very cool!!! Loved the interview. I was one of those who initially was VERY opposed to the name change. However, I have come around to the fact that it is going to happen. Whether we want it to happen or not, eventually MLB will force it to change. I don’t think the name is offensive like “redskins” and I grew up a huge Redskins fan. I love the name Hammers and how it honors Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. I hope they choose that name and not a weird one like “Guardians”….how weak is that?

    @13 “Chinese-state affiliated media” — What are you even talking about. No one there was Chinese.

    @17 “China State Media” — can’t you guys be more original?? This has nothing to do with China. It is about caring for and respecting ALL citizens of THIS country.

    Btw, without China, you wouldn’t be watching the game on that nice TV or computer or phone that you have.

  18. @ “CGTN (formerly known as CCTV-9 and CCTV News) is an international English-language cable TV news service based in Beijing, China. It is one of six channels provided by China Global Television Network, owned by the Chinese state media China Central Television (CCTV), under the control of the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party.”

    This is the media outlet that conducted the interview. I bet I’m not alone in finding this to be a questionable source of information. So, that’s what I’m talking about…

  19. @ 19,

    The issue is not the interview. You can choose to be interviewed (and hopefully still choose not to be interviewed) as you see fit. The issue is not the substance (I listened to half). The issue is that Chinese State Media is admittedly trying to sow discord in America. And though “the guy” may be British (or you thought he was, maybe), if it is distributed by Chinese State Media (and what I see clipped in by you says he is affiliated with Chinese State Media). then no matter whether you were talking about the Braves, or puppies, or Uighurs you should not link anything from them onto this site (or any other site, actually). Not because “political comment” but because acknowledged and known bad state actor. which seeks to destroy the U. S. and become the world’s only superpower. They don’t put out ONE WORD that they do not think (and, they can be wrong on that, factually, but it IS their intent) helps them to try to dominate the world. Have they published anything on the strong likelihood that COVID 19 is caused by virus manipulations in Wuhan or that it got out of their lab there? No, because that would not help their narrative.

  20. I thought the interview itself was fine. I totally hear what you’re saying, cliff, and don’t think you’re wrong. I also really really don’t want to share my views on whether the team should change its name. I just really like Ryan’s shirts.

  21. @Everyone

    I did the interview months ago. Owen changed platforms but didn’t let me know why there was a delay. I had 0 knowledge it was through the Chinese State Media because it wasn’t.

    Cliff, to clear things up, I’m not upset with you.

  22. @ 25,

    Ryan, again, you are missing the issue. If you found it and saw it had that tag on it, I think that alone is such that it should not be posted here (or anywhere else). If you couldn’t find a version without that, you should have kept it off this site (or anywhere else). On the “not anywhere else”, that is because of my beliefs. But as to this site, the perfidy of Chinese State Media stains anything so bad, that it should not be linked here under Braves Journal “no politics” standards. Admittedly extreme example to make sure you understand what the issue actually is. Y0u are interviewed about the Braves by a journalist who seems o.k. The interview comes up on RT? Al Jazeera? Today’s Nazi Party? Do you link those?

  23. With regards to pulling Max early, I actually think it was unrelated to any of the arguments presented so far. I think it was more likely that in Morton’s game it was still tied and Snit wanted to leverage his best pitcher as long as possible. In Fried’s game, the Braves were ahead and there was no reason to stay the course. I just don’t think the coaching staff is tat much of a deep thinking group.

  24. @cliff

    I’ll take it down. Here’s an insight on me. I stay away from politics. I know nothing of this site so I’ll trust your judgment.

    As simple as it might sound, I’m a family man, a school teacher, a Braves fan, and a beer brewer. To say I’m naive about politics is an understatement.

    Crew, I apologize if I upset you. Truly, I didn’t know. This mess is on me.

  25. @28 I don’t think you should have taken it down. It was a great interview. It’s unfortunate that people want to drag politics into everything. There was nothing political at all about what you posted. Sad.

  26. I’m glad I came in on the aftermath of this because I do agree that there are bad international actors doing an exceptional job of sowing discord in the US, and race and name changes is one of the ways that’s being done. I can also say that I was there at the game with Ryan when he was being interviewed by the guy, and I wasn’t troubled by the journalist.

    I know that Ryan’s definitely not a politics guy. I’m convinced he’s not because he has somehow trained his Twitter algorithm to not flood his feed with politics which leads him to believe that a normal person can make Twitter what he wants it to be. Only if you go cold turkey on politics like Ryan does. :)

    The Hammers discussion is only relevant if cancel culture wins out, but I like how Ryan has a good idea in a hypothetical post-Braves world. I do like the t-shirts, but the Braves are the Braves, and my fandom will hurt significantly if they change their name. Don’t @ me.

  27. So what you’re saying is we shouldn’t have given up the bomb to Tellez?

  28. “(Matt) Wisler is managing the injury and will remain on the Rays’ roster, skipper Kevin Cash told MLB.com’s Adam Berry and other reporters. “As we stand right now, he’s just too valuable to go away [from],” Cash said.”

    Thought I’d never hear a quote like this.

  29. Yeah — he got four outs on seven pitches. Six out of seven were sliders. Six out of seven were strikes.

    Seeing him and Gausman succeed with two of the best teams in baseball is enough to make you wonder whether the Braves are leaving some wins on the table.

  30. Wow, anyone seeing the rays/sox just witnessed an incredible screwjob by the umps against the Rays. That one is going to get talked about for a while if the rays lose the game.

    Edit: and yes, red sox win

  31. The Braves have a terrible habit recently of giving up on young pitchers if they see them as a failed starter. Great example is Bryse Wilson. They traded him for a terrible reliever who didn’t even make the postseason roster. They never even gave him a chance as a reliever, just like they didn’t with Wright or Muller. One of the greatest relievers in recent Braves memory is Jonny Venters, a failed minor league starter. Gausman is a prime example of why I think we need a new pitching coach. Terrible here, goes on to become an ace. The reverse is Will Smith. Great for the Giants. Not so good here. They need to “promote” Kranitz to the front office and hire a younger pitching coach with some energy. I like the idea of an assistant pitching coach too.

  32. …And Yimi Garcia ties Will Smith’s playoff record of most home runs given up to someone with the same last name.

  33. @38, @40, how was it a mistake by the umpires? I didn’t see it, but the online article I read quoted a section of the rule that said that any ball not in flight (and the ball in question had bounced off the wall) that goes off a fielder and out of play is a double.

    I’m sure the networks (and MLB?) were glad it worked out that way, as I’m sure they’re silently rooting for Boston, but it doesn’t seem like the umpires got it wrong.

  34. @44 Easy to look up archaic rules after the fact. Does that rule promote a fair game in tonights situation? Heck no. Watch it be revised in the offseason and give the umpires discretion regarding the runners.

    This is honestly an extremely rare situation in that the ball is coming back into the field of play; it wasn’t deflected on its way out. IMO the rule was made for the latter of these two situations.

    Saying that they played this one according to the rules, I would guess that they agree with Holbrook making the right call regarding the infield fly rule.

  35. It was rightly called a ground-rule double based on the rule. However, they have the wherewithal to award the baserunner home plate if they judge that there was absolutely zero chance to throw him out (we got the benefit of that on a play not too long ago), and as the runner was off prior to the pitch and had actually touched third base prior to the ball landing in the bullpen, I have zero clue how they didn’t let the runner score…sending Kiermaier (the hitter) back to second was the proper call.

    Having said all that, the homer Boston hit was a 2-run shot, so “it wouldn’t have mattered anyway” (yes, I know the Red Sox would’ve had more pressure if down a run and so forth).

    More crazy call action in the Houston-Chicago game BTW…

    UPDATE: I just looked it up and apparently I’m wrong. They can place baserunners on fan-interference doubles, but not on ground-rule/automatic doubles. So yeah…bad rule.

  36. @46 If the umps actually have discretion to award the runner scoring from 1st and they didn’t do it, that is even more of a head scratcher for me.
    Kiermaier staying at 2nd is fine, I just thought for some reason that they just could not move the runner from 3rd to home according to the rule.

    Edit: lol, just saw your edit, Nick. I guess bad rule it is, then.

    Sure has been a wacky night…please stay away from the braves, please.

  37. Why they can’t just be given discretion on automatic doubles like they can on fan-interference doubles, I’ve got no clue.

    In Chicago a few minutes ago, we’ve just learned that the batter is essentially allowed to run right at the first baseman instead of the base in an intentional attempt to interfere with a throw home because…the runner’s lane only applies to throws to first? He hadn’t gotten to the runner’s lane yet and didn’t deviate from his “established path,” ignoring the fact that his “established path” would’ve had him running three yards wide of the base? Not quite sure.

  38. Yeah, every rule that specifies a mandatory number of bases for lead runners on a dead-ball play is stupid, in my view.

  39. @48 I hate to say anything in favour of the Astros but they were cheated on that play.

    May tomorrow’s games be free of all the bad umping that’s been going down.

  40. I’ve been around a longtime, braves fan the whole while. Visited this site for years for braves news, learned a lot, never compelled to comment until now. But now I’m done here. Felt I should let those who frequent the site know why. Iceberg is on point with his comments. When the leader of the site is clearly into self promotion and has an agenda adverse to my beliefs I will look elsewhere for Braves news. Enough of the hammers already!

  41. @51: Also been visiting this site for years, also have learned a lot, and also have been, at times, put off by the political leanings of some of the frequent contributors. But I keep coming back, because I love the Atlanta baseball team–whether they are called the Braves or the Hammers–and can’t find such high quality commentary anywhere else.

    Ryan apologized. I think a little graciousness is called for, myself.

  42. Yeah, Chuck, if you survived me, then gosh, I think Ryan is child’s play. :) But if you didn’t self-select out when you had to read what I have to say, then it probably has more to do with you not wanting to read something you don’t agree with vs. just having a politically-charged discussion on a baseball website.

    I don’t want the Braves to change their name, and gee whiz, the timing of Ryan’s interview coming out now since we’re right back to some name change discussion during the damn playoffs is frustrating. 2 out of the last 3 years we have non-baseball writers looking for an angle and using the increased readership and interest in the Atlanta Braves during the playoffs to peddle this stuff. Ryan did that interview in May for crying out loud.

    BUT, the Hammers is a cool name. If all of this lunacy does result in a name change, then I hope it’s the Hammers, and that’s literally all Ryan is saying. Ryan has never advocated, to the best of my knowledge, for the name to be changed.

  43. Runners try to block the throwing lane all the time. It’s odd to see it when they are running towards the throw, though.

  44. I rise to praise Ryan. He is doing an outstanding job in running the best baseball blog on the internet. We appreciate you, buddy.

  45. It’s interesting that Snit is going with the same lineup for the third game in a row. I had guessed he might insert Pederson given that he is 2 for 2 in the series and Duvall is 0 for 7. Hot hand and all that.

    But maybe the thinking is that Joc has the hot hand as a pinch hitter, and he wants to use him in that role again.

  46. #46
    Yup, bad rule (& bad outcome in the worst situation). Gotta maintain some common sense in a situation like that. The umps really should be able to award the extra base there.

    And if the umps aren’t willing to judge the intent on the base paths, you’re setting yourself up for some silly outcomes (like we saw last night). Sometimes, it seems, the umps would rather not call anything.

    Reminds me of this moment from the 1978 WS:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx7-8w4QD64

    #51
    To each his own, but I find that, if needed, the PgDn button can work wonders.

  47. I’ve been reading the new book “Noise,” by Cass Sunstein, Olivier Sibony, and the Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman. It is, basically, about the errors in human judgment caused by factors other than bias. (For example, judges feel more generous hand out more lenient penalties after lunch than before lunch.) One of the most important ways to counteract noise is to aggregate the independent opinions of multiple observers — this is the wisdom of crowds, and it’s how a bunch of people can collectively guess the number of jellybeans in a jar.

    But it only works if the judgments are independent. If subsequent observers know the initial observations, then the error doesn’t average out, it compounds.

    This is why the umpires in the video room in New York should not have any idea what call was made on the field. Letting them know the call on the field literally prejudices their judgment.

  48. @57 I think that’s generally true of most of our hitters. We seem to have a lot of streaky guys – Duvall being the most visible example. It’s a big reason why we often lost so many close games and won so many blowouts. The real key is to have a “team” where we can stagger the lows and highs to produce consistency. I think Freddie is the best example of a guy that can still produce (walks, SFs, etc…) when he’s cold. I also think Soler and Riley are approaching that status. Rosario has done a great job in the last month of being the contrarian hitter (being hot when everyone else is cold). But the lineup tends to stagnate when Duvall, Albies, and Dansby are all cold at the same time. Any one of those three get hot and the Braves can’t lose.

    Next year, when Ronald comes back, there may really be no stopping this lineup. If we could put up an OF of Ronald, Soler, Duvall/Joc platoon (any three of the four we have now actually), we might be able to avoid a lot of the team slumps. With a DH, we can keep more of them in the lineup, too.

  49. Honestly, I would give Dansby the streakiness prize. With Duvall, he’s just a super low-OBP guy. He’s going to make outs 70% of the time, but when he doesn’t make outs, he hits a bunch of homers. Dansby is more of a classic Kelly Johnson type: when he’s on, he produces both OBP and slugging. When he’s off, he’s completely lost at the plate.

  50. FWIW – not that anyone cares – the way I see it: as owner & facilitator of this great site, Ryan can pretty much do as he pleases.

    I am grateful for all of his hard work.

    Let’s go Braves! Let’s get this game today.

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