Braves 5, Brewers 4 — Into the West We Go

There is an old Soviet joke my father and I have loved for many decades. It goes as follows (I will attempt to abbreviate):

Leonid Brezhnev wakes up in the morning, looks out his bedroom window, and sees the rising sun, and says: “Good morning, Comrade Sun! How is your work coming?”
— “Very well, Comrade Brezhnev, and yours?”
— “Very well, thank you!”

At midday, Brezhnev looks outside his window at the Kremlin, and sees the sun high in the sky, and says: “Good day,Comrade Sun! How is your work coming?”
— “Very well, Comrade Brezhnev, and yours?”
— “Very well, thank you!”

Then, in the evening, as he is leaving for home, Brezhnev looks at the setting sun. “Good evening,Comrade Sun! How was your work today?”
— “The hell with you, Brezhnev, I’m in the West now!”

And so, as all eyes shift to the final game of the toughest NL West division race since 1993, the Braves are in an enviable position after playing four tight games with the Brewers, scoring 12 runs and yielding six.

It was, indeed, the worst offensive drought our offense has suffered since June 20-29, when we played 11 games in 9 days against the Cardinals, Mets, and Reds and scored a total of 25 runs across all those games, going 5-6. But scoring 3.0 runs a game is far better than scoring 1.5 runs a game, and that mathematical fact is the clearest explanation for why virtually every pundit picked wrong and Jim Powell’s new team is still in the playoffs while his old team is heading home for the winter.

Of course, the Brewers did not score one run a game by happenstance. They did so because we wished them to. Here, then, is what our starting pitchers did: Morton, Anderson, and Fried twirled 20 1/3 of the 35 innings, they yielded four runs, and they struck out 29 men while walking two.

And here is what our bullpen did: Chavez, Jackson, Matzek, Minter, Smith, and Ynoa threw 14 2/3 innings, they yielded two runs, and they struck out 19 men while walking seven.

In this game, the Brewers doubled their previous offensive output, and to his credit, Snitker managed with his foot on the gas. When Morton started the fourth by giving up a run on two singles and a walk, the skipper showed a quick hook and went to Jesse Chavez, who yielded a second RBI single before finally ending the threat, but the tally remained in reach, just 2-0.

The offense immediately counterpunched by loading the bases and inspiring Counsell to go to his own pen. Snitker then won the chess match — he pinch-hit with Orlando Arcia, which inspired Counsell to bring in his righty, Hunter Strickland; Snitker then burned the just-announced Arcia, pinch-hitting with Eddie Rosario, who hit a two-run single to even the score.

The fifth brought more antacid fodder: Snitker pulled Chavez in favor of Huascar Ynoa, who probably was been in the original plan as a possible long reliever for this game if Morton didn’t have much in the tank. But his command, as it has been lately, was not precise. Leadoff batter Christian Yelich singled on a 2-1 slider, which tells you that Ynoa was struggling to throw his best pitch by them. Avisail Garcia gamely helped by waving at three sliders in a row, but then up strode the nemesis of Game 1, Rowdy Tellez, who utterly destroyed a cement mixer for his second 2-run homer of the series. Ynoa got out of the inning, but he would not be retained for a second.

Meanwhile, the offense did just as they had the previous inning: they loaded the bases and scored two runs, this time on a fielder’s choice in front of a single. When Snitker pinch-hit for Ynoa, it was his third pinch-hitter of the game already and only a tie game in the fifth inning. He ran the risk of a brutal extra inning slog, if the offense couldn’t keep it going. But Snitker was playing for a short game, not keeping his powder dry for Game 5. Hard to argue.

The next two innings were uneventful as both pens did their jobs. A.J. Minter deserves special commendation — he got four quick outs in his first and only appearance in the series. He isn’t Matzek, but when he’s on, he’s a bear.

And then came the moment that none of you will be learning for the first time by reading this. Craig Counsell did what he ought to have done: he brought in Josh Hader, the best closer in baseball, to face the Braves’ 9-1-2 hitters: lefty Rosario, righty Swanson, lefty Freeman, followed by the switch-hitter Albies. It was the right move on paper: season on the line, you want Hader facing two lefties and the rest of the top of the order.

There was only one minor niggle, likely a small sample size blip: even though he’s a lefty, Freddie Freeman came to the matchup with a walk and a homer in five plate appearances against Hader — a 1.400 regular-season OPS. Ordinarily you and I and JonathanF would say that’s predictively useless.

Of course, Freddie Freeman absolutely destroyed a first-pitch hanging slider to right-center and sent the Braves to their first lead of the game and their last of the series. As sdp said, “Pay the man. Give him the check and let him fill it out.”

Smith came on in the top of the final frame, gave up a leadoff single, and then induced a foul-out and two punchouts. The Brewers learned what we already learned the hard way: just having the best pitching in baseball won’t punch your ticket in October. Better luck next year, guys.

Bring on the Giants or Dodgers!

64 thoughts on “Braves 5, Brewers 4 — Into the West We Go”

  1. Great recap, and love the joke. Speaking of heading west, I had forgotten until reminded last night that the Braves get home field advantage over the Dodgers (despite the fact that the Dodgers won nearly 20 more than the Braves). Even so, like most everyone, my gut tells me that I’d rather face the Giants. But it would be very satisfying to beat the Dodgers.

  2. Great job, Mr. Remington.

    Great article up on ESPN about the Braves defensive shifting changes. That revealed another thing that had gone past me. Braves run prevention (pitching and defense) was 2nd best in MLB from June on. And, they defined “shift” only in context of 3 fielders on one side of second. There are a lot of “lesser shifts” that influence batted ball conversion of outs. Also, in that post May period the conversion of all batted balls to outs went up 5 points (like from 69 to 74 %).

    Pulling for a Giants win in the 14th inning Thursday.

  3. For the record, the Braves are 39-20 since the trade deadline. That will play with anyone.

  4. @1 Agreed. I was hard over about preferring to face the Giants until it was pointed that we get home field against the Dodgers who are ever so slightly not as good this year. It’s possible that with the home field last year, we win. I might still prefer the Giants. We played the Dodgers once and the Giants twice after the deadline revamp. We were swept by the Dodgers and split with the Giants. I know SSS and all but it seems like there’s some bad mojo playing the Dodgers.

  5. Thanks for the excellent recap. I still feel like I would rather face the Dodgers with the possibility of playing 4 games in Atlanta than the Giants. Both teams obviously have their strengths and weaknesses, but I don’t think there is much difference in the two from an overall strength standpoint. Bring on the Dodgers!

  6. Predictively (or was it Predictably?) Useless was my nickname in graduate school!

    Semi-JC’d: Did Wong bunt on his own in the 9th or was that against-both-the-old-school-and-new-school strategery?

    Imagine what we’d be saying here about that play this morning if we were the Brewers Bugle and not Braves Journal.

  7. I prefer the Giants, because I am just too shell shocked from past Dodgers series to feel we have much of a chance there. The revenge factor would be nice though (though it applies to the Giants too, just not as recently.

    As is stands now here are my preferred WS matchups:

    Atlanta vs. Boston
    Atlanta vs. Houston
    San Fran vs. Houston
    San Fran vs. Boston
    Los Angeles vs Houston (just for the cheater’s revenge story line but I hate WS rematches)
    Los Angeles vs Boston (the Betts series, also..gross)

  8. There were a bunch of super controversial plays where we basically got screwed or made terrible mental errors last night, and only MVFree’s late-inning heroics keep us from talking about them today.

  9. An Atlanta-Boston WS would be the first time the two playoff teams with the lowest win totals in their respective leagues met in the WS… #crapshoot.

  10. Neither I nor child 2 can stop ourselves from smiling today

    She is especially happy as she’s found that Pennant Chase t-shirts are on Etsy

  11. #11
    Also, an ATL-Sawx WS would see the Braves franchise playing its 2 previous cities — Boston & Milwaukee — in the same post-season.

    FWIW, it wouldn’t break my heart to see the Giants win tomorrow… and yes, especially in an extra-inning death battle.

  12. Pieces coming up the next few weeks at the Journal:
    •Mississippi Braves Recap
    •Rome Braves Recap
    •Augusta Green Jackets Recap
    •Arb-Eligible Braves for 2022
    •NLDS Preview

  13. FWIW, I think the Dodgers are every bit as good as last year and any of the preceding years–maybe even slightly better. The addition of Scherzer and T. Turner is huge. Even without Kershaw, this is a dominant rotation, with Buehler, Max, and Urias. The one thing that makes them perhaps not as strong as last year is the injury to Muncy; sounds like he is unlikely to play in the NLCS. Even so, having Trea Turner at second allows them to play Taylor or Lux in center and move Bellinger to first.

    But this Braves team as it now stands will be competitive with anyone. The top three in the rotation can match up with anyone and the lineup is as deep as the Dodgers.

  14. My thing about the Giants is I really believe there is more luck in their success than the Dodgers. Dodgers lose a player to injury and next man up is better. They are DEEP. I still believe the Giants could wake up and recognize that they are pumpkins at any time. Besides, they wear pumpkin colors, right?

    Now, if the Giants have engineered a secret trade with the Cardinals for some of their Devil Magic, then we would be doomed, but I don’t believe that the Cardinals would let anybody get a hold of any of their Devil Magic.

  15. Also, Soler’s in the 10-day COVID protocol, which means that we may miss him all series.

  16. The Dodgers are better IMO. Does that offset home-field advantage in a series where we’ll be flying cross-country? I don’t know. The team with it has to make one fewer five-hour plane ride, though, and also has an extra home game.

    @10: That’s the magic of winning a playoff game. I honestly still can’t believe that a dropped pop-up on the infield is not reviewable, though, and I additionally can’t believe that that’s never blown up in MLB’s face in any major way until now. I also can’t believe that neither of Adam Duvall’s baserunning adventures cost us a game (though again, the one on Monday afternoon was WAAAAY worse).

    @17: No one seems to know whether it’s five or 10 days, whether he’s vaccinated or not, etc. He won’t be back for Game 1 either way, and I’d say we’ll know more by then.

  17. @12 Just got my order confirmation through a site called TeeHami. Looks kinda dodgy but I ordered. Could be interesting what I’ll be getting exactly.

  18. Here is my ballot for NLDS MVP for Atlanta using mostly WPA and cWPA. I know these are limited stats, but they do a good job of telling the story of what actually happened especially in a short series. I wish there was a way to incorporate defense and baserunning (and there probably is I just don’t know it) but this is what I’ve got:

    1) Matzek (3.4 cWPA, 0.30 WPA) – Just lights out, cleaned a mess for Luke (and one of his own) but this guy is a big game pitcher

    2) Freeman (5.6 cWPA, 0.51 WPA) – Responsible for the biggest play of the series. I was actually going to post earlier in the day that is seems Freddie has never really had a playoff moment. He’s been solid in the playoffs for his career, but the power hasn’t been there. That all changed with one swing of the bat.

    3) Joc (1.6 cWPA, 0.18 WPA) – Joctober certainly took a lot of pressure off of the offense. Wasn’t great as a starter in game 4 but did have a key RBI to make it 4-3.

    4) Going off book here a little, whoever was in charge of defensive positioning. Being in the right spot for a lot of hard hit balls saved multiple runs. Credit to the players for executing, but the behind the scenes personnel deserve some serious credit.

    5) Fried (3.4 cWPA, 0.34 WPA) – Hard to understate how big Max’s performance was. Gave the team the chance to get back in the series after a tough luck game 1 loss, and also gave Snit the ability to go to Morton in game 4, knowing he had Max for game 5. Game 4 could’ve turned out different had Snit done what I said and started Ynoa.

    6) Snit – Managed with an even keel, but not afraid to push some aggressive buttons when needed. I second guessed a few decisions (mostly pulling Fried after 6 and pulling Minter before facing Tellez) but everything he did worked pretty much. The pinch hitting was great and players succeeded because their manager put them in a position to do so.

    7) Will Smith (3.0 cWPA, 0.25 WPA) – Really excelling at just the right time. Will has cost us all years off our lives but he has gotten the job done.

    8) Dansby (-1.4 cWPA, -0.14 WPA) – This is where WPA falls short. Dansby made some huge plays in the field that saved runs. With runs at such a premium those plays were huge.

    9) Anderson (3.4 cWPA, 0.29 WPA) – Hard to argue with multiple innings of scoreless pitching. His performance set the table for Joc’s heroics in Game 3.

    10) Minter (1.5 cWPA, 0.12 WPA) – Should have been used more, but hard to argue with the results. Hopefully he will get more of a chance to shine in the NLCS.

    Honorable mentions:
    Luke (1.5, 0.13) – It kills me to leave him off, my dren Luke Jackson tee is 3-0 (I forgot to wear for game 1) he was solid, just gets knocked a peg for leaving a mess for Matzek.

    Rosario (1.3, 0.08) – Felt like he had more big hits but he only drove in the 2 runs in game 4 (not that those weren’t huge) no runs scored either. Solid not spectacular.

    Chavez (1.0, 0.08) – Allowed one of Morton’s runners to score but held them at bay after that. Nice efficient inning in game 3.

    Riley (0.6, 0.04) – Was solid offensively and defensively. Missed a couple of big opportunities to be the hero, but nothing to complain about. Needs to work on his sprint speed so he can beat Duvall in a footrace.

    I’ll be back with NLDS LVPs later.

  19. @Dusty — or actually, this may be a question for @JonathanF, but looking at the above offensive WPA you posted, for a guy like Dansby is there any way to combine with defensive WPA, i.e., the negative WPA to the Brewers that came from the play being made? Seems like that would be a good way of aggregating the value from Swanson’s glove.

  20. Regarding Soler, it seems like the exact length of time isn’t fixed, but it’ll be a while. Here’s DOB yesterday:

    The Braves will likely be without Soler for at least 10 days, as he tested positive for COVID-19. This wasn’t simply contact tracing. He’ll need to be cleared by a joint committee that includes MLB and players’ union representatives as well as two physicians, and there’s a chance he could miss the entire best-of-seven NLCS.

    https://theathletic.com/2886441/2021/10/13/freddie-freemans-homer-off-josh-hader-lifts-braves-to-nlds-clinching-comeback-win/

    And:

    Before Jorge Soler can return to active roster after his positive COVID-19 test, he must be cleared by the Joint COVID-19 Health and Safety Committee (a rep from MLB, a rep from MLBPA and two physicians). He has to be deemed non-infectious before the committee clears him. Soler will be out a minimum five days. So, he could return during NLCS if cleared, but no way to know yet when that’ll happen.

    https://theathletic.com/realtime/otezYeWLAV8K/

  21. If there were an NLDS MVP award, it would’ve gone to Freddie Freeman. There is really no runner-up on this. If Freeman had struck out in every single at-bat in the series other than last night’s eighth-inning one against Hader, he would still get the award based entirely on what he did in that AB.

  22. @21: You can always take a pitcher’s play and apply it to a fielder instead. Dansby’s defensive plays are assigned to the pitcher… Lucky pitcher!

  23. Do we know if Soler is vaxxed? If so, the viral load supposedly declines quickly in the vaccinated individual, so I would be surprised if he’s out ten days in that case.

  24. @25: It’s unclear. There was a report that he is, but the automatic 10-day thing is protocol for when you aren’t.

  25. How much WPA does Guillermo Heredia generate for being so incredibly hype, is what I want to know.

  26. @27

    I thought he was gonna dislocate his shoulder doing the chop/sword slash/whatever it is move with Freeman after he crossed home plate. He almost tipped himself over he did it so emphatically.

  27. I thought I read Soler was vax’d, had no symptoms, and could be back for NLCS Game 2 (assuming all goes well with testing and approvals).

  28. 21 and 24 – To add a little context, Dansby’s play to double up Yelich with 1st and 3rd and 1 out in the 8th of game 3 resulted in a +0.066 to Atlanta’s chances to win game 3. It was a good play but I’d say based on his positioning 80% of SS make that play and probably 100% at least get 1 out. So hard to know how much credit to give Dansby (but of course offensive WPA doesn’t worry about assigning credit either). To further the point, Dansby’s dive to rob Cain with 2nd and 3rd and no one out in the 5th added 0.111 WPA to Atl. He clearly deserves the credit here. It was an amazing play that less than half of all SS make if I had to guess. What WPA doesn’t tell you here is the net effect of making the play vs not making the play. Joc’s HR with 2 on and none out in the 5th added .201 WPA, so if Cain’s ball gets through it’s probably 2 runs and a man on 1st so I’d say at least -0.15 to Atlanta, meaning the swing is more like 0.26 (for context, Freddie’s HR was only .311 WPA).

  29. @29

    I read that, too, but it’s seeming increasingly likely based on the news trickling out today that he’s not, because they’re talking about maybe late in the series, maybe not until the World Series.

  30. @13 I was thinking about that too.

    The Braves have never faced the Red Sox in the postseason. The closest you can get are the Memphis Red Sox vs. the Atlanta Black Crackers in the 1938 NAL Championship. However, the last time the Braves played in a World Series in Boston, we won. That’s what I would prefer to see.

  31. Hey crew! Just letting everyone know (especially our writers) that we have a whole lot of people that are wanting to write and most is time sensitive, meaning before the beginning of the next round. We will likely run 2 columns/day starting tomorrow.

  32. From that piece:

    “Riley, per OAA, was roughly average or only slightly below in both April (-1 OAA) and May (-2). He was baseball’s weakest fielder in June (-8 OAA) as the shifts ramped up, though that’s not just about advanced metrics; at one point, he made five errors in five days. It settled down in July (+1 OAA) and August (+1 OAA); in September, he’d rebounded so well that at +5 OAA, he looked like one of baseball’s best third basemen.”

  33. From what I understand about defensive metrics, going month-by-month tells you very little. It’s numbers in search of a point. I like Baumann, but that piece read to me like it was being intentionally provocative — the kind of piece you’d write about any or every playoff team to say, if they were to win the World Series, how would we expect them to do it?

  34. @20, Betts robbed Freeman of a HR late in game 7 of last year’s NLCS; I can’t remember if the score was tied or if LA was already ahead by 1, but either way, that very easily could’ve been Freeman’s big postseason moment.

    @20, @24, @30, this is another way of saying what Dusty said about WPA, but WPA on Dansby’s game 3 5th-inning diving stop compares the after-PA state to the before-PA state (one more out, no advancement), not to what would’ve happened if the ball had gone through (two runs & a runner on 1st). In this case, since the play was exceptional, the latter seems like a better reflection of the WP that Dansby actually A’d.

    Also, this metric hasn’t been invented yet, but Dansby’s game 3 average DRS/play (or something like that) must have been off the charts. He only made plays on two balls all game, the diving stop in the 5th that saved two runs and the double play in the 8th that saved a run. (I noticed because I told my son in the 5th that no balls had been hit to Dansby or Riley, and then two key ones were that inning.) Riley only made three plays, including throwing home in the 5th to stop Urias from scoring and the leaping catch in the 9th.

  35. I agree with JamesD84. The implicit comparison of WPA is with the average play. Exceptional defensive plays are exceptional because the but-for alternative isn’t the average, it’s the much better situation that would have occurred. WPA treats Dansby’s diving stop like a lazy popup to short. In so doing it greatly underrates the play.

  36. @32, how about 1948?

    @20, lots of competition if Morton wasn’t one of the 12 most valuable players, but I guess he gave up 4 of the Brewers’ 6 runs all series.

    I think I’d move Riley up a bit. Several good defensive plays and .333/.375/.533 with 3 of the team’s 12 runs.

  37. #32
    Yes, the Boston Braves upset the Philly A’s in 1914, but actually, the Braves lost their last WS played in Boston.

    In 1948, the Boston Braves (“Spahn & Sain”) lost to the Cleveland Indians in 6 games. The Tribe, of course, haven’t won a WS since.

    Nonetheless, a Bos/Atl WS would be just fine by me. (And if I could actually get tickets, I could just take the Acela train, my fave mode of travel, to Beantown.) But first things first…

    EDIT: #40… Ha, beat me to it.

  38. @37 – I mostly enjoy the after fact because The Ringer, just like ESPN, has written pieces on the Yankees, Rays, Dodgers and Giants and then Brewers. Yet not one word on the Braves other than a short write up of “how they might” win but from what I recall they did not give them much chance. That’s fine. Overlook us and get shocked. I’ll take it.

    @40 – I like to forget that one. ;) Besides, we got revenge in 1995. But good point.

  39. The Ringer has clearly established itself as very anti-Atlanta.

    Mostly joking, I guess…but am I?

    The Ringer crapped all over the Hawks until they beat Philly in the second round early in the summer, mostly because Bill Simmons hates Trae Young. Any idiot who actually watched the NBA last year could’ve told you that the Hawks were better than the Knicks and should easily win the first round series between the teams, but apparently Bill Simmons isn’t just any idiot…or maybe he doesn’t actually watch the NBA as much as he lets on. (To be a little fair to him, all New York-based media seemed to suffer from a similar delusion going into that series…not that Simmons is New York-based.)

    They similarly don’t seem to have any useful idea about how the Braves season actually broke down. The Ringer published that piece AL mentions @37 that seemed to have no clue whatsoever that if you’re evaluating the Braves as a season-long entity, you’re evaluating them wrong going into the playoffs. They seemed to think we were clearly the worst team in the field because we had the worst record, and that was that. Oops.

  40. @44 – I remember thinking the same thing. It was as if their expert wasn’t even aware the Braves were a significantly different team personnel wise after the trade deadline. I was not impressed.

  41. @37

    For me, the eyes have told the story. He’s been so much better at coming in on the ball and the arm has been on point since the All Star Break. Those 2 things alone will give him a positive OAA. Also, 5 errors in 5 days didn’t help his OAA in June.

  42. Something like 80% of The Athletic writers predicted a Brewers win. I think only the MLB Network group predicted a Braves win.

    Did anyone read the mlb.com pre-series position by position breakdown. They gave the Brewers the edge at 2B primarily because Wong is so tremendous defensively. That is true but they acted like Ozzie is a slouch defensively which is not true. Then they gave the Braves the edge on bullpen, which was super crazy. Who did they pay to write that stuff? As it turned out, the Braves bullpen was great and Ozzie wasn’t great (but neither was Wong).

  43. Found it!

    https://www.mlb.com/news/braves-brewers-nlds-position-breakdown?t=nlds-b-coverage

    But fwiw, he gave the 2B advantage to the Braves. They gave SS to the Brewers because Adames was kind of their team MVP. They gave LF to the Brewers based on the back of Yelich’s baseball card, even though he’s a shell of his former self right now. They gave CF to the Braves as Duvall over Cain, and RF to the Brewers as Garcia over Soler; I think both of those choices are defensible.

  44. @47 I’m pretty sure that was edited. It originally gave the Brewers the nod there. I remember it because of it talking specifically about the superior defense. That was all gone this time. I didn’t have a problem with the other choices……and really my only problem with that one was that he made Ozzie sound like Dan Uggla. I’m glad it was changed because that was silly.

  45. Like I said, be shocked. National publications have not paid much attention to the Braves since the 90’s (if then.) So I always love it when we make them pay attention.

    And I hesitate to bring this up, as it borderlines the political thing, but a good point was made the other day. If we play in the World Series (yes, we have to get there first), will MLB and Manfred allow us to play games in Atlanta? The passed law that caused them to pull the All Star game from the city remain exactly the same at the moment. So…hmmm.

  46. #49
    Eh, don’t worry about it. MLB already made its point.

    And for all the fretting about big-city media, the Braves have a full-on ringer on MLB Network in Mark DeRosa (whom I happen to find entertaining)… plenty of lovey-dovey Braves-related coverage there nearly every morning. So, impression for impression, everything evens out, if you even care about that stuff (and I kinda don’t).

    Fact is, it wasn’t unreasonable at all to pick Milwaukee in the series. And don’t expect anyone to pick us in the next round. Hell, I certainly wouldn’t bet on it… which will make it all the more thrilling if the underdog advances again.

  47. This is the same league that changed its sticky stuff policies midseason and seemingly at the drop of a hat…but yeah, agree. It’s less that MLB will take further action, necessarily, and more that the nearer the Braves get to the promised land, the more fraught and potentially distracting the conversation around the team then becomes.

    The players and personnel certainly receive media training around this stuff, but still. Even when fans do the chop unprompted during the NLCS, gotta buckle up and get ready to Enter The Zeitgeist.

    I don’t mind saying this a few more times if necessary: I hope everybody here respects the “no politics” rule. My dream would be ZERO posts that start off “I know this may be crossing the ‘no politics’ line, BUT…”

  48. I only just now realised that whilst the Braves would have home-field against the Dodgers, they won’t have any chance of home-field in the World Series, should they make it. Whilst the Dodgers would have home-field against any AL team. Odd system MLB has designed here.

    Oh and nice graph @34. Very instructive and a clear discontinuity at that game. I enjoyed the article accompanying it as well.

  49. @52 – I guess that’s why you’re the Fun Police, it’s so much fun to get close to that line.😃 In all seriousness, I agree with you, but at the time of the All Star game it was really hard since it directly involved the Braves. In this case, I don’t think there is any danger in this happening, so it’s a moot point.

  50. @52, I 100% agree. I have plenty of opinions about all this stuff, as I imagine most of us do, and I have zero desire to express them much less to discuss them.

  51. So, I think Soler is not vaxxed. It seems that routine testing for vaxxed players is optional unless exhibiting symptoms, so the fact that Soler was taking a test while at the park and asymptomatic would indicate that he is unvaxxed.

  52. I generally try not to speculate on that stuff. But the main upshot is the team will be without him for longer.

  53. I’m on the fence, honestly. The Dodgers obviously feel more formidable, but that’s not obviously true given what a juggernaut the Giants have been all year. I just want them to tire each other out in a Game 5 for the ages.

  54. @59–I don’t buy it. It’s mostly just very small sample size stuff that’s meaningless. The one that may make sense is the first: that the Braves hit four seamers better than two seamers, and therefore they’re better off against Buehler, Scherzer, and Urias than Webb, Gausman, and Wood. But as good as the Giants starters have been all year, I’d still rather face them than that Dodger trio.

    Having home field advantage may make some difference. Traveling cross country once rather than twice has got to help.

    Even so, I still think the Dodgers are better overall than the Giants. (But the Giants have been proving skeptics like me wrong all year)

  55. Speaking of politics, I know this is just a quirk and unintentional, but I appreciate how “Braves Roster” is the only page underneath the “So You Wanna Talk Politics?” header atop the website. As if the construction of our team was the most taboo/beyond-the-pale topic of all. (Though to be fair, for much of the season, this was arguably true.)

  56. Good piece about the UmpScorecard Twitter bot:

    https://theathletic.com/2886178/2021/10/14/grading-mlb-umpires-meet-the-humans-behind-the-twitter-bots-that-track-balls-and-strikes/

    Looks like Braves have, on balance, been hurt by the umps’ strikezones this year, to the tune of about -6.7 runs this year. Only seven teams were hurt worse, but two of them were the 101-win Rays and 109-win Giants. So we can’t really complain too much.

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