Your NL Champion Braves 4, Dodgers 2

On Saturday night, the Braves defeated the defending World Champion Dodgers 4-2, thereby winning the NL pennant and stamping their ticket for their first trip to the World Series this millennium. 

The victory continued their improbable second-half run of success.  This team never broke the .500 mark for the season until August 6.  Since August 3, they have gone 43-21, erasing a 5 run deficit to win the NL East by 5.5 games, for the fourth straight division title.  They defeated the favored Milwaukee Brewers in four games in the Division Series and dispatched the Dodgers in six games in the NLCS.

Last night’s heroes were first and foremost Eddie Rosario and Tyler Matzek.  Rosario capped off his MVP Series with a game three run homer off Walker Buehler in the 4th that broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Braves a lead they would never relinquish.  Rosario was rightfully the Series MVP with 14 hits in the six games (the most any player has ever had in a six game postseason series); he hit .560 for the series with 3 homers, 9 ribbies, and an OPS of 1.647.

But if Rosario was the series MVP, Tyler Matzek deserves his own trophy (see last night’s comments for suggestions about the size of certain parts of his anatomy).  I said above that the Braves never relinquished the lead after Rosario’s home run. Luke Jackson, bless his heart, almost relinquished that lead all by himself when he came on with a 4-1 lead in the top of the 7th.  He promptly gave up a double, walk, and another double, so that all of a sudden it was a 4-2 game, and the Dodgers had the tying runs in scoring position with no outs.  Snitker turned to Death Star.  He managed to strike out Pujols, Souza, and Betts, leaving both runners stranded and the Braves holding on to that two run lead.  For good measure, he came back out for the 8th and got the Dodgers in order.  In his two innings of work, he got them six up six down, on 17 pitches, 15 of which were strikes.

There were plenty of other heroes in this game: 

–The other lefties in the pen were almost as good as Matzek:  Minter went two shutout innings of his own, getting them six up six down with 4 Ks.  The good Will Smith set them down in order in the ninth for the save.  As JamesD84 noted last night, Minter tossed six scoreless frames in the series (all of them high pressure), and Fresh Prince pitched four scoreless ninth innings with two wins and a save.  And yet everyone knows that Matzek was the mvp among the pitchers.

–Ian Anderson was sharp, shutting them out for the first three innings, and giving up a solo run in the 4th.  He gave up just the one run on three hits, striking out 4 in 4 innings.

–Ozzie and Riley got the Braves on the board in the first with back to back doubles; it was big to get an early lead.

–Adrianza had a pinch hit double in the fourth to extend the inning and allow for Rosario’s three run blast.

–Freddie reached base 4 times via the base on balls.

–Swanson hit the ball hard a couple of times and played his usual stellar defense, including a nice stab and throw on the grounder that ended the game.

There is not time now to reflect on the contributions of everyone who contributed to this pennant.  But we can’t let this opportunity to go by without once again praising Alex Anthopoulos.  If he is not executive of the year, they may as well abolish the award.  His faith in the team’s chances and his incredible trade deadline acquisitions made the team’s run possible.

And what can we say about Snit.  I was moved almost to tears to see him in the celebration last night.  It’s not just that it is nice to see him reap this reward after the decades of riding the bus and working for relative peanuts.  His steady hand at the helm was also crucial in keeping the team working hard and staying focused through all the frustrations of the first four months of the season.  But it’s not just the clubhouse leader skills that were so impressive; we knew he possessed those.  He also outmanaged Dave Roberts on the field in this series.  His decision to pinch hit for Anderson in the 4th was gutsy but effective.  His turning to Minter and Matzek for two innings each was terrific.  And his faith in and commitment to Will Smith when he struggled so in September has obviously paid off.  (Now Snit gets to face his son in the other dugout in the World Series—what a story in itself.)

I started to say in the first paragraph above that this improbable run of success since August 1 culminated in last night’s victory.  But that’s the wrong verb.  This stretch hasn’t culminated—there is one more hill to climb.  The World Series begins in Houston on Tuesday.  The amazing ride will continue with Morton on the mound against his former team. 

P.S. Let’s all remember Ryan as he and his family continue to deal with Covid. Ryan, you’re another hero. Thanks for all you do to keep the best baseball blog ever going strong. I wore my Hammers t-shirt during last night’s game. Looks like I have a new lucky shirt–it will see a lot more use in the next ten days.

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

105 thoughts on “Your NL Champion Braves 4, Dodgers 2”

  1. Thanks tfloyd for a pennant worthy recap on short notice. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t love Snitker. Rosario rightfully MVP as you say. But Matzek reminds us in the end, it’s all about balls and strikes.

  2. TFloyd, thanks for the kind words. Our 3 year old is in good spirits today and the whole fam got tested yesterday. I did a home test and was negative and I’ve still yet to show symptoms. My wife has symptoms, but my 6 y/o does not.

    Also….Any Braves Journaler going to game 3 or 4? I’ll be done with quarantine and don’t want to miss this opportunity! I only need 1 ticket!

  3. My Hammers shirt moved to 4 and 0 this postseason last night. Sadly, the Braves Journal shirt is but 3 and 3.

  4. Y’all think MLB will let the World Series be in Atlanta this year? I hope there isn’t any legislation going down this week. 😏

  5. What a crazy season. On August 1, I never dreamed that this would be the Braves team to break the pennant drought. It’s worth pointing out that after the 16-2 run that started on August 3, the Braves slumped to 8-14 and were only 5 games over .500 on the morning of September 19. Instead of folding, they ended the season on a 12-2 run that cemented the division, and are 7-3 in the postseason against stiff competition.

    In postseasons past, it always seems like there is someone on the opposing side that we just can’t seem to get out when it matters. It was great to see Rosario turn the tables in our favor, and Matzek has just been incredible with as clutch a performance as you can imagine in the clincher. A season to savor, let’s keep it rolling.

  6. @7 It is insane to have a guy go 14-25 with 3 bombs in 6 games. You’re right; that’s never us!

    I was wondering if Rosario was overkill when we acquired him. I’d hoped that at some point Pache would hit and would earn another call up. I didn’t know if he would continue to hit. And yet we wouldn’t be in the World Series without him.

    On paper, the Astros are the better team. So were the Dodgers.

  7. Coming back out again from lurking to join in the celebration and to say thanks to all the great writers here for for helping us savor the good times and to make the lows a bit more enjoyable. Now let’s get four more!

  8. I just corrected one statement I made in the recap. I had asserted that they did not break the .500 mark until August 3. It was actually August 6 before the Braves finally had a winning record for the season.

    I just looked at the 1914 Miracle Braves team. If I’m reading it correctly, that team was below .500 until August 3, when they won to go 46-45 on the season. From that point forward, they went 48-14 to win the pennant by 10.5 games. Then they swept the A’s in four games in the WS. I like that precedent.

  9. One key to the game was Matzek coming back out for the 8th. If it hadn’t been him, it likely would have been Chavez. As surprisingly good as Jesse has been, that would have been too stressful for me to handle. Or maybe two innings of Smith; that likewise is not something I’d feel good about.

    So is d’Arnaud an unsung here for making the last out in the 7th, ensuring that Snit wouldn’t have to decide whether to pinch hit for Matzek in the 7th? Soler was in the on deck circle. Was that just a decoy? If d’Arnaud had reached, what do y’all think Snit would have done?

  10. Your site is great!
    Thanks from Scotland.
    I’ve been a Braves fan since the late 70s after visiting Atlanta as a 10 year old. I flew out in 95 as I was sure this was the year, and I ended up at game 6 watching them win it all. Someone gave me a ticket after hearing I had flown in from Edinburgh because of the WS.
    I’m booking a flight, it’s on again.

  11. Wonderful recap for a wonderful season that isn’t over yet. This team is hot and so are the recappers! Go Braves

  12. @5 I wish you guys would stop mentioning the all-star game. It REALLY makes me want to talk politics, especially this comment. I am deliriously happy today and I would like to stop thinking about that stupid all-star game.

  13. @14 That’s what I keep thinking about. I questioned what we were going to do for the 8th, and not burning Matzek’s spot was a huge moment in the game.

    If we continue to pitch like this, then we can go all the way. Dansby and Freddie won’t remain this cold. Soler will be back for a full series. Ynoa will be back. There’s a lot to like going into the next Series.

  14. @5 – I was told a week ago here that no one wanted to get into that and move on. Just this morning, I was told by someone else that these are completely different things and that’s a ridiculous suggestion. I guess the outrage has moved on and we should forget how a lot of folks that work at The Battery lost money due to virtue signalling. So…

    I’m still elated. Seeing a lot of “Party like it’s 1999” memes this morning but I prefer 1995 for obvious reasons. My takeaways from last night:

    Negatives:

    Snit putting Jackson in that game when it was clear we should have gone to a lefty (see Matzek.)
    Still not a lot of patience at the plate. Timely hits made it a moot point, but that could have hurt.
    Outfield defense remains a little suspect.
    The shift. Sure, use it. Don’t over use it.
    I really don’t have any more because we won!

    Positives:

    Once again Matzek! I agree with others that he should be considered the co-MVP.
    And can Rosario maintain this hot streak? Yes.
    Anderson looked sharp and let Morton get the rest needed to start Game 1 of the WS.
    Minter!
    Infield defense remains excellent.
    We won!

    I take nothing away from this amazing team for this excellent series win, but I do have to say that in many ways the Dodgers beat themselves. Snit definitely out managed Roberts. Most assuredly with the starting pitchers. I complain about the shift over-managing, but Roberts really tried to ride his starting staff so hard that none of his elite pitchers were at peak ability. And I mentioned this last night, but that Scherzer could not even go…does that matter for his HoF case? Koufax, Gibson, Maddux, Clemens…on down the line. Every one of them would have taken the hill and lived or died by the results. I guess Roberts thought he could sneak one more past us and then throw Scherzer in the final game. Too much over confidence? Too much over thinking? Hard to say. Hubris? Possibly.

    And as good as the Dodgers have been (and are), their real heroes were their bottom of the order. Taylor that had been slumping. Pujols that is a shell these days. Pollack that still has some gas. Sure, Bellinger got his hit but he’s been far removed from his MVP season for some time. Again, I’m a little amazed that we were able to corral Trea Turner in this series (he went 6-25 and hit .240 in the series.) That guy killed us with the Nats.

    More, had the Dodgers actually won, they would have been spent by the time of the WS. Lost Muncy, Justin Turner, Kelly…had to pull Price back onto the roster. Yet all the media seemed to want them to get there. Well, they won’t and we will. So on to the Astros. I’m looking forward to the look ahead there because I’ll admit I have not paid them much attention this year. A good team, obviously, but so are we.

    It’s been said that this has been a bit of gravy given where we were at mid-season. I’ll buy that. But we ended as one of the best teams in the league and now we are near the mountaintop. Keep climbing, boys! Go Braves!

  15. Most fitting recap. Thank you, tfloyd. Now let’s win four more. As Rob said, the Astros are winning on paper. Again, I like our chances. Go Braves.

    @15 J Wright – You’re able to fly out to the US before Nov 8? Tell me how and I’ll join.

  16. Should also say great recap, tfloyd, especially on short notice. And pleased to hear things at the Cothran house seem a bit better as of this morning.

  17. @14, Snit said Matzek would have hit for himself if his turn came up in the bottom 7th.

    I’m happy to give d’Arnaud unsung hero status for starting our 4th inning rally tho.

  18. The Astros may be a better team on paper than the Braves but they are not better than the Dodgers. The whole set of factors will be different. The Astros are more RH dominant – not many LH on the roster. But the lefties are big’uns. Jackson and Chavez are going to be more prominent (Strider over Lee on the roster? Rich Rod?). Minute Maid is more friendly to HR hitters – our warning track shots could be HRs and we did very well there in the NLDS last year (Dansby, in particular). We will not have homefield advantage. They only have two LH pitchers (no LH SP). The Astros pitching staff is worse than the Dodgers by 3/4 of a run and they don’t have the same kind of shut down relievers. On the other hand, the Astros will be well-rested. They scored a lot of runs but they don’t hit as many HRs or steal as many bases. Without the DH, they may be not much better than the Braves – on paper. With the DH, the Braves may be as good as they are – on paper.

    Overall, I think the teams matchup very closely and the Braves have a very good chance. The best part is that there are no jinxes or history that will get in our heads.

  19. #26

    Good point about the steals. Last I heard, the Dodgers were 11/11. How many of those steals came home to roost?

  20. We’ve been travelling today, but I wanted to take the time to read through last night’s thread before jumping aboard

    Thanks to Alex for fixing the Keane link

    Thanks to everyone else for saying everything I would have said myself. I may wait until I’ve applied suitable amounts of gin and wine to my wife before casually suggesting that we could fly out to visit her brother next weekend…

    I think Perfecto Mix seems appropriate

  21. @21 Ok, I asked nicely for everyone to stop mentioning the all-star game because it makes me want to go political. I was ignored. The all-star game being moved had NOTHING to do with the Braves organization. It was taken away from the city of Atlanta because of their racist legislation, just like Charlotte lost the NBA all-star game due to NC’s homophobic legislation (since repealed). If the workers lost income then blame the government, not mlb who rightfully took the game away.

    If my post is scrubbed please scrub all posts mentioning that STUPID all-star game.

  22. Let’s please not talk about the ASG.

    I also need to eat crow about the Soler issue. Here’s DOB:

    Jorge Soler, who’s not been vaccinated and missed the last game of the NLDS and first four games of the NLCS after testing positive for COVID-19, was activated before Game 5, and Saturday he did his first interview since testing positive. Asked if he’s changed his view on being vaccinated, he said, “Yeah, I feel way different now. I feel bad about it and I’m going to get a shot as soon as I can.”

    https://theathletic.com/realtime/YNI6vBYboxjd/

    All best to your family, Ryan.

  23. Asked if he’s changed his view on being vaccinated, he said, “Yeah, I feel way different now. I feel bad about it and I’m going to get a shot as soon as I can.”

    “The powers that control me wouldn’t let me play even though I was ::edit::asymptomatic. To avoid being punished for not being vaccinated, I will submit to the powers at be.”

    Don’t worry; I’m vaccinated. I’m not anti-vax. But him not being vaccinated should not have hurt the team, and the only reason it did was because we have an archaic rule that if you’re positive, you have to sit down, even if you’re symptomatic.

  24. 35 — Come on Rob, you know better. Asymptomatic does not mean not contagious. What a nightmare if half the team got sick at this time.

  25. Hey crew, we are toeing a line here. Let’s stay civil, away from political dicussion (or anything remotely close) and bathe in the glory that is a World Series berth. I’ll not scrub comments above, but I will for any further discussions on the matter. I’m getting emails from regulars and I’d rather not have to police on such a happy occasion. I love everyone in this bar, even the disgruntled ones, and I don’t really want to deal with this right now. I mean, didn’t I screw up enough for everyone a few weeks back?

  26. I need to edit my last post. Apparently, the Astros do have a LH SP and he’s starting Game 1. I was reading the wrong side of the slash line (he hits RH). It’s an interesting choice because I thought the Braves hit lefties pretty well.

  27. @29:

    That’s funny. I said as much in last night’s thread, but AL told me I was completely wrong. (@122 and @127)

  28. @31 Thanks for ASG request.

    I tried to tell the clique at Talking Chop that Soler would need to sit out 10 days and that he was likely unvaccinated. Their supreme leader, Ivan, and his acolytes called me an idiot and said I didn’t know what I was talking about. I don’t know why I ever try to post there. DOB said he was unvaccinated initially. 10 days is a standard national health department protocol. The Braves have elderly coaches and a diabetic player. There is NO WAY they would shorten that protocol even if allowed. You guys here disagreed with me, but no one called me an idiot like those tools at TC. I just retired from the health department. These protocols are extremely important to follow.

  29. @41 Let’s be thankful that covid was apparently contained with Soler; asymptomatic or not, he was still contagious. Imagine what a disaster if we lost 2 or 3 more players for the LA series, or just 1 more key player.

  30. @38 Ryan, I apologize for my part.

    I think everyone needs to realize that Atlanta fans are a melting pot. There old and young, Democrats and Republicans, southerners and northerners, male and female, etc. We span all races and nationalities. I have only been to Atlanta once in my life but I’ve been a TBS Braves fan since the age of 13. I love this team with all of my heart….it’s the only sport I follow.

  31. I guess I will just say that I dream for the day when discussing the basic scientific truths of Covid and the vaccine and the subsequent influences on MLB are not political, especially almost 2 years into this. It’s not political for me to say that the vaccine works, or at least it really shouldn’t be. We talk about all sorts of stupid rule stuff, sometimes devoting entire threads to a stupid rule. IMO, this is a stupid rule thing. The elderly coaches and Adam Duvall, said diabetic, are vaccinated. It doesn’t matter what happens with Soler if they’re vaccinated. The team shouldn’t suffer because one guy is not vaccinated. That’s why we got vaccinated — so we didn’t have to worry about whether someone else had Covid. That’s the whole dang point.

    I dream of the day when it’s not political to say the vaccine works.

  32. @45
    I understand that and agree with it. However, others do not and it gets ugly sometimes. We are lucky here…really lucky. We have a bar that’s always open and always inviting.

  33. @45 Breakthrough COVID cases are more deadly in the elderly, immunocompromised, and diabetic. Thus, even if those guys are vaccinated they could die if they get COVID. There is a difference between the body of 24 year old Ozzie Albies and 70 year old Ron Washington. Also, Ozzie could get exposed and test positive …taking him out for 5 days. Do you want that?

    It’s also not mlb….they are using health department guidelines.

    This has been a glorious baseball season. Go Braves!!

  34. @49 I guess the question is over where is this all going? It isn’t political to say that MLB players are even less likely than the rest of the population to become 100% vaccinated. Are we going to be here 2 years from now and a guy can have the flu, and as long as he can perform, he’s fine, but if he tests positive for Covid, he’s out for a big stretch of time?

    The logic is never going to change: Covid is always going to be deadly to a 70-year old Ron Washington. But so is the flu. Why are the rules different, and when will this ever end?

  35. @50: The rules are different because, at this point, COVID is showing to be ~10 times deadlier than the flu. The long term effects of “surviving” COVID are also showing to be worse than the flu. Some of these “survivors” are going to have a horrible quality of life and will continue to impact our healthcare system going forward.

  36. I don’t know about that. I think Soler was the only unvaccinated Brave. Most all teams had an 85% vaccination rate. Red Sox, Phillies and Royals did not. There is no similarity between the flu and COVID. The flu is not as contagious and not as deadly. It will end when enough people get vaccinated. This is the world we live in now. I just got my booster and never leave my house without a mask. I can’t risk bringing home COVID to my 83 year old father.

  37. Stop being so dumb, rob.

    And yes, it would be absolutely hilarious if the MLB somehow intervened and forced the Braves to play the World Series at a neutral location. It’d be even more fitting if the MLB set up a system where you have to place ticket orders in a physical dropbox, and the Houston area gets to have a ton of such dropboxes while Cobb County is allocated far fewer.

  38. And honestly, it was probably better for the All-Star break festivities to be in Denver anyway. If you’re talking about honoring a former home run king, it’s fitting to hold the home run derby in the park that allows the most homers, versus holding the All-Star game in an area in which he never actually played, in a metro area in which he was less happy compared to his Milwaukee days.

  39. @54 I can’t stop being so dumb, Faux Ryan. This is a terminal condition that I have, and there’s no cure. There’s no hope for me.

    Cindy, it sounds like the answer is this never changes. That 2 years from now, regardless of if you’re vaxxed or not, if a guy gets Covid, he sits. That is going to heavily incentivize teams to just produce fraudulent negative Covid tests when Team’s Best Player tests positive, but he’s asymptomatic, and we’ve played tens of thousands of professional baseball games in that time and thousands of players and coaches have not been hospitalized one time.

    I don’t think that’s the best thing for MLB, but I don’t make the rules. And I like Chip Caray and the pitcher win stat, so my judgment is impaired.

  40. Please stop, everyone. Today is a day to share our common fandom of the Braves and to share our common joy in the most success they have had in 22 years.

  41. I agree with Rob, that never happens. But I really don’t want to know about Rob’s opinion about vaccines. Or Ryan’s. Or Cindy’s. Or that of anyone who’s not a virologist. Can this vaccine discussion please move to the politics section?

  42. Morton and Valdez have been announced as game one starters. Game two starters haven’t been announced, but clearly the Braves follow with Fried then Anderson. The interesting decision is game 4. I’m guessing they go with Chavez as opener followed ideally by several innings of Smyly.
    Given the Dodgers’ experience with Scherzer and Buehler on short rest, I assume the Braves won’t even consider that for Morton or Fried.

  43. I think game 1 of the World Series is exactly why we got Morton. Big Game Charlie! Go Braves.

    Vaccination talk should fall under the no-politics rule IMHO, nothing good will come out of it. Maybe discuss it in the “So you wanna talk politics” adjacent room in the back of this wonderful bar.

    Go Braves.

  44. Who is the next reliever to enter the game that’s not Smith, Matzek, or Minter? Is it Chavez, Jackson, Martin, or Webb?

    I feel so bad for Sliderman. That third hit he gave up was on a good pitch. It was a good 2 inches inside, and he hugged it right inside the LF line. But while this is strictly anecdotal, and as much as I think Jackson is a very underrated reliever, I don’t remember anyone getting hit as hard as he gets hit when he’s not on. I’m both the chairman of the Luke Jackson Fan Club and also don’t like that he’s our best RH reliever.

    RE: Ynoa

    I could have sworn AA said in the post game that Ynoa was eligible to return. Someone said he’s ineligible. Why?

  45. I wanted Sliderman to replace Will Smith as closer in September. Shows you what I know.
    I feel back for Luke. He looked great there for a while until he did not. Hopefully a few days rest will help.

  46. I will say this. I disagree with Rob’s stance there (he’s just wrong).

    But he definitely is not dumb. And this is why we have the no politics rule, because we don’t want it to devolve into personal attacks. And the political discussion here is unlikely to actually change anyone’s mind and is just going to piss people off.

  47. 64 — The rule is that if someone has to be replaced on the roster, then they are ineligible for the current round and also the next round of the playoffs.

    I’m sure this is to keep teams from shuttling players back and forth.

  48. Y’all remember who the Braves beat in the NLDS back in 1999? None other than the Houston Astros

  49. Regarding my discussion with Rob and the vaccine. I did NOT consider that to be political at all. It was just a discussion. Believe me, you will KNOW when I discuss politics. I do not consider him to be dumb and I thought it was a good discussion. We just have a differing opinion. I do not wish to go to the politics section because I will get activated and I do not want to get activated. I don’t follow people on Facebook or Twitter just for that reason.

    I won’t discuss vaccines further but I think it’s really, really silly that they are considered “political”. They aren’t.

  50. 2 things:
    1. The ryan posting is not me. I have no idea who that is.
    2. COVID is political because it is…I have no control over that. It just is and I wish it wasn’t.
    3. If you want to talk about anything that does not pertain to this team and maybe, just maybe, has a slight political lean, move it to our new political page: https://bravesjournal.us/political-discussion/

    Be nice, please. We’ve waited for 20 years for this and we don’t want to piss people off before they even have a chance to celebrate.

  51. Just popping in to say thanks to Ryan for all he is doing at the site and to say please quit being a headache for him to the couple of you who won’t take a hint especially given what his family is dealing with at the moment.

    I’ll get to work on series MVPs and LVPs and get it to Ryan soon so we can argue over something else :).

    Thanks to all and let’s enjoy it and not and it for granted. I’ve watched and waited and posted for a long time waiting for this day to come again. So glad it’s here and so glad we got to knock out the Dodgers as icing on the cake.

  52. You can just say my name Dusty. I’m a big boy.

    I asked Ryan to make a political page to give the comments a clean slate from the previous one. I think it’s interesting to try to understand the role Covid will play in mostly closed communities like baseball clubhouses going forward. So if that interests you, then feel free to join us. Since there are 100 different perspectives on Covid, if it offends you to hear the other 99, then steer clear.

  53. Tomorrow will be a 2 post day as there are, once again, people that want to write and I’m not going to deny them the opportunity. Thanks for the kind words, Dusty. I’m looking forward to your piece too. It looks like Tuesday will also be a 2-post day!

  54. I still can’t stop thinking about Matzek’s performance. You just know when he comes in the game, the Dodgers and their fans are thinking “this is where we take control of the series.” Not only does he snuff out their hopes in the 7th, but then he stomps them into cold ashes in the 8th. The six biggest outs in the last 20 years for this franchise.

  55. Well, that was an unexpected Covid / ASG discussion. I echo Nick @62.

    As for the World Series, well, the Astros really do hit well. But they haven’t seen our pitchers yet, so advantage Morton, Fried and Anderson. Hopefully they can go 5+ innings most nights. I’m just going to enjoy the next few days, given how unexpected this result is. Pity Australia’s border isn’t open, so I can’t travel to Atlanta. I’ll just have to watch from a bar down under.

  56. @64–good question about relievers you turn to other than Matzek, Smith, and Minter. I assume Minter has replaced Jackson as the third guy for high leverage situations. But you’re going to need more than those three.

    I haven’t given up on Jackson. It looks to me like he doesn’t trust his fastball so he throws his slider more than he should. I think the Bellinger homer in game through may have scored him off his heater. But it’s still a good fastball, and he’s got to use it more. I may be wrong, but I think Smith got better over the last few weeks when he started to trust his fastball more. Smith and Luke both have great sliders, but if you throw it too many times in a row they will hit it. Plus you increase the odds of hanging it.

  57. @74 “2. COVID is political because it is…I have no control over that. It just is and I wish it wasn’t.”

    You are correct. I worded my statement very badly. There is no reason for it to be political, but it is. No more from me on it.

  58. @80 – That is a good observation on Jackson and Smith. Jackson has a great slider and a few years ago they were calling him Sliderman because he was throwing it over and over. His slider was impressive, but I don’t know any pitch outside of maybe a knuckleball that a major league pitcher can get away with throwing 95% of the time. This year Jackson starting mixing things up much better and success seemed to follow. The Bellinger homerun was a high fastball and a fluke, but it didn’t seem to help his confidence in pitches other than his slider.

  59. @75 Should there even be LVPs? This TEAM is in the WORLD SERIES!! Everyone had value. Everyone contributed, even if it was just helping them to get there. I don’t really like players being singled out for being bad. I spent too many years as a social worker I guess.

  60. Mariano Rivera was close to 95% cutters at his peak. A number of guys threw nothing but sinkers back 20+ years ago. Lance McCullers Jr threw 26 curves in a row earlier this year. if it’s a truly great pitch, it will play

  61. @84–very true, but to state the obvious, I remember Mariano Rivera, and Luke Jackson is no Mariano Rivera. I’m old enough to remember Larry Anderson. He threw sliders 95% of the time and was very successful. Luke’s slider is outstanding but he’s not consistent enough with it (which I think was Rob’s points earlier).

  62. Agree that the magical run the team’s been on since August, through the Division Series and LCS, has been a whole-team effort. To the extent there are LVPs, it’ll show in who’s left off the World Series roster. I’ll leave the predictions on who makes it to Ryan, who thinks about roster construction far more and far better than I do!

    The biggest thing will really just be for Snitker to find a way of using those 25 men as effectively as possible. He seemed to push all the right buttons against the Brewers and Dodgers.

    In the playoffs so far, 27 men have made appearances for the Braves, and one of them, Ynoa, is definitely out for the next round. But of those 26, there are really only about 20 who have seriously contributed.

    Dylan Lee and Jacob Webb have been the forgotten men at the back of the bullpen, and Arcia and Camargo have been oh for the playoffs. Smyly and Contreras have their roles — you have to have a backup catcher, and you have to have a garbage time long reliever who’s stretched out and able to go three innings without burning tomorrow’s starter — but they’ve gotten hardly any playing time either.

    That’s perfectly okay, and perfectly rational usage. I think Snit got lucky with the Adrianza pinch double: he’s been a really nice player for us this year, but he’s a light-hitting utility infielder, and that’s his only hit so far in the postseason. All Snit can do is try to maximize the resources he has available. Hard to argue he’s gotten any less than 100% so far.

  63. Would having Contreras’ bat available be better than Arcia or Camargo? In other words, add a 3rd catcher.

  64. I just want to see Kevan Smith get a WS ring. If he can do it, I feel like some of us at bravesjournal still have a chance!

    Speaking of which, what other part time players would be getting a ring?
    Almonte, Vogt, Strider, Camargo (0-17 all year) , Flaa; there must be dozens of others.

  65. I think, with the Astros being so very RH-heavy, that Luke (and maybe Chavez and someone else, too (Martin? Rich Rod?)) is going to be essential to success. Matzek has reverse splits so that’s a plus, but I’m not sure Snit will want to depend on reverse splits.

    I’d like to think that Morton and Anderson are going to do well at keeping the Astros in check and hope that Freed can recapture his stride that evaded him in Game 5. In their position-by-position analysis, MLB.com gave the Braves the advantage at SP. If we can take that advantage then we could really do well in this series.

    Oh, and the most popular opinion in the MLBTR poll is Braves in 6. I agree……

  66. Hi, everybody. I’m dealing with spotty internet, which I take to be a warning that I can’t watch Game 1 at my house.

    Great job, tfloyd, as always.
    The Panda gets a ring just for being involved, however tangentially, in the Rosario trade. Indeed, I’d give the Cleveland GM a WS share for that trade alone.
    I mentioned it briefly last night, but this is one of those series when I think no DH rule in the Braves’ home games greatly favors the Braves. The Astros have to find a place to play Alvarez, which means benching (I think) Brantley. On the other hand, when there *is * a DH, the Braves get all four outfielders in the lineup.
    I’m still fascinated by how easily the Dodgers were hamstrung by left-handed relief, and it it is surely no coincidence that (a) the Braves have a gigantic number of left-handed relievers (and this is without even mentioning Dayton); and (b) AA wanted to be competitive with the Dodgers after last year. If he stacked the deck with left-handers hoping to have favorable matchups with the the Dodgers, he’s a total genius.

  67. @90 Indeed

    Terrence Gore, who pinch ran once in the division series as well.

    Feels like so many rings are going to have to be made, that there goes any chance of re signing Freddie, lol.

  68. The Astros are missing McCullers and Greinke is finally starting to show his age. But Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia have been very good. Jose Urquidy is promising.

    Offensively, they are really good. The Astros are a team that actually may have a stronger infield than the Braves. Bregman, Correa, Altuve, and Gurriel are excellent.

    Kyle Tucker has had a breakout year in right field. Michael Brantley and Chas McCormick are also decent everyday players in left and center. As JonathanF said, they will take a hit when their DH Yordan Alvarez will either have to play the field or go to the bench during the games in Atlanta.

    They are weak at catcher. Martin Maldonado is all glove. Their backup catcher, Jason Castro, can hit some but is a poor glove.

    I suspect the series will come down to the bullpens and whichever one pitches better.

  69. Joe had my favorite radio call last night…as Rosario was pulled out of the dugout for a curtain call after his home run… “The whole dugout’s out to greet him! The whole dugout’s out to greet him! Who is Eddie Rosario? And where the hell did he come from?!”

  70. No to Richard Rodríguez. If he can’t use sticky stuff he is pretty worthless. Strider, Muller and Wright are all better options.

  71. @91 thanks for the link. Great interview. I agree impossible not to like Luke after that and root for him even more

  72. Agree on that Luke interview. I feel the same way about Will Smith. These guys come off as humble, decent, extremely hard workers who take it incredibly hard when they let down their teammates. The guys who are hard to root for is the ones who never believe that anything is their fault. I’ll definitely cheer for Luke a little harder now.

  73. @91 Sounds like he’s learning some interview techniques from Joc…… Luv it. It’s good to know that not every ballplayer learns “interview” from Crash Davis.

    @99 Yeah. One of the most important things taking responsibility. You cannot learn from your failures if you don’t acknowledge when you have failed. It’s one of the most important ways to improve.

    @94 Agree mostly. Heard that McCullers is done for the season now. And Greinke is a shell. I think and am hoping that it’s starting pitching that turns the tide. I think the Braves have a real advantage. Good starting pitching will make our bullpen play up.

  74. Umpire Scorecards consistently showed the umpires favoring the Dodgers. That means Will Smith is much better than TdA at framing, right?

  75. @101 individual framing stats had them very close, so I would say it was pure dumb luck….yeah , that’s it….

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