This was a pretty crazy series, but two of the three games went the other way unfortunately. The Braves had chances today, particularly in the 10th when they only needed to score the extra runner from second to win the game. But it just didn’t happen, and the Braves continue to have major issues with this silly extra-innings format.
It looked like things were going Atlanta’s way early on, as they took a 3-0 lead. A Dansby Swanson two-run homer was a big blow, and it does seem as though he’s playing better than he was during the first month. At the very least he’s now getting the occasional big hit.
Meanwhile, Kyle Wright was dealing. He allowed just three hits and two walks over 6.1 innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out nine. However, his defense failed him a couple times in this game. It led to two unearned runs and allowed San Diego to tie the game. In the fifth, Matt Olson whiffed on an admittedly pointless throw to first base by William Contreras and it allowed a run to score from second with two strikes and two outs. Then Austin Riley booted what should’ve been an inning-ending double play ball in the seventh. Wright had already allowed a run to make it 3-2 and was laboring, but he should’ve been out of the inning. He was lifted after that, though, and Colin McHugh allowed a sacrifice fly to score the tying run.
After the defense was so good in the Milwaukee series, it’s been flat bad in this one, and it’s mostly been Olson and Riley. They combined to blow the lead yesterday, as well, before the big comeback (and yes, I am going to blame them for that instead of Will Smith, thank you for asking). Not sure what’s going on with those two, but successfully fielding the ball might be a plus going forward.
The Braves somehow got through the top of the 10th without allowing the dumb extra runner to score, but given our history with this thing, we knew better than to just assume we were easily going to score our dumb extra runner and win the game. Arcia tried to sacrifice Contreras to third, but it was a bad bunt and Contreras was thrown out at third.
A slew of things are notable on this play:
1) No, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the bunt here (outside of the few caveats I’ll list below). Getting the winning run to third with the top of the order coming up seems like a good idea, and we only needed the one run.
2) There was a review on the play at third, but I found a replay to view (having not paid $6 to watch this game), and I can tell you out was the correct call. Third baseman Ha-Seong Kim almost missed the tag, but almost doesn’t count. He did tag Contreras just before his foot hit the bag. At the very least, it was simultaneous and therefore not overturnable (if that’s a word).
3) If Acuna starts tomorrow, I’m gonna have a tough time understanding why he couldn’t have pinch-hit for Arcia in this spot. I will now vaguely gesture toward the thing I said earlier this week about not always seeing a maximum level of urgency in the team’s early-season decisions. (Note: If Acuna doesn’t start tomorrow, I will withdraw this point.)
4) I fail to understand why we didn’t pinch-run Heredia for Contreras in this spot. And as it turned out, Heredia might very well have beaten the bang-bang play. We did pinch-run Heredia for Arcia after the fielder’s choice, and Heredia proceeded to do nothing to try to get into scoring position for Olson.
Predictably, we wound up not scoring in the inning despite getting a hit from Olson, and the Padres predictably punished us with four runs in the 11th.
A brief word on Peacock before I go:
Look, I’m not anti-streaming for baseball. Honestly, the only sport I can think of that doesn’t have some form of streaming exclusive deal right now is the NBA, strangely enough. Even the NFL has streaming-only games, and they’re about to have more this fall. The YouTube exclusive MLB broadcasts that have happened over the past few years are free, and virtually everyone can access YouTube at least on their computer. The Apple game on Friday was a bit more onerous perhaps, but that was still free (and even if they start charging for it, at least Apple TV+ has some content that people might want to watch).
Peacock, however, was not free. For anybody who doesn’t already get it (and the only people who do are English soccer fans, pro wrestling fans and Comcast cable customers, best I can tell), it was essentially a $6 pay-per-view. And Peacock is by far the crappiest major streaming service in terms of other content, to add insult to injury.
So yeah, not really a super great idea by MLB to give them an exclusive window. Especially since it’s just NBC Sports, so they could be broadcasting on linear TV if they weren’t trying to drive subscriptions for their worthless streaming service.
In any case, it might be preferable if MLB could combine all these streaming packages into one so that fans at least knew which service they had to sign up for.