Despite promising start, Braves fall to Padres in 11 and lose series

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.

52 thoughts on “Despite promising start, Braves fall to Padres in 11 and lose series”

  1. The bunt for the visitors in an extra inning game is idiotic.
    The bunt for the home team needing one run makes sense so long as the bunt success rate is high enough… and until today I forgot that there are three ways a bunt could fail: (a) by failure to advance the runner (that’s most of the failed attempts… strikeouts and popups); (b) by the disaster of the Manfred Man thrown out at third (like today); and (c) the ultimate disaster: a double play. Even a fairly tiny rate of exchanging the runner at second for a runner at first and an out makes this a pretty bad play. The upshot is that the runner should stay put unless he’s pretty sure he can make it. Since I’m not paying $6 for Peacock, I have no idea how close it was, so I take your word for it.
    On Peacock: I love baseball, I love the Braves, and I have plenty of disposable income. But $6 for one televised game on a Sunday is so transparently greedy that I demur.

  2. This morning it is safer to not comment on the actual game…

    But I have an (albeit) overseas MLB TV subscription for Braves only, and we quite happily watched the game via the app with no extra charge

  3. Nick…thanks…game summation could not be improved on.

    Peacock is big for the Brit fans here for not only live coverage of soccer – the best league there is- but putting up replays, in toto, the next day and doing precisely the same with rugby – male/female/ world wide. And many other sports.

    So the net result of all this, if you’re so inclined, is a virtual morass of sport 24/7, all over.

    Five bucks a month for all this…surely the antithesis of what Jonathan is complaining about-value for money. Are they to blame for what they include? Widen those horizons.

    And BTW thanks again JF for help rendered when I was making a nonsense earler about Bally Sports access. It was you who said you don’t need it, get a smart tv, which we did. And to pass on a tip re big tvs – if 80 inches with OLED cost in the high 4k’s from your only local dealer who you are effectively/morally bound to support but he has 86 inches, same brand, for $1895, No OLED, wipe the tears and exercise your Scots patrimony.

    Giant tvs are wonderful. Before we go preferably.

  4. I was gullible enough to pay for Peacock. In retrospect, six bucks wasn’t worth it, especially for yet more frustrating play for our guys.

    I did enjoy hearing Andruw Jones in the booth. Not that he was especially insightful, but he was pretty candid and funny at times. Andruw faulted Contreras for trying to advance on the bunt. Anticipating JonathanF, he said you should only go if it’s relatively certain you can make it. The play was close, but he probably was out.

    As to the wisdom of the bunt attempt, it might make sense in this limited situation (tie game in bottom of 10th) but only If the hitter can reliably lay down a good one. That is not a reliable assumption, to say the least. Bunting is a lost art. In my memory of the last few years, no one ever gets a good one down. Of course, sac bunts are almost always a bad idea, so they are very rarely called upon to bunt and I can assume they don’t practice it much.

    BTW, bunting for a hit against extreme shifts doesn’t require a lot of accuracy, and I wish more hitters would attempt it occasionally.

  5. @3,4: Is a game worth $6 to me? Sure. Do I acknowlege that Peacock is really valuable for some people and therefore presents no incremental cost to them? Absolutely.

    But we’re in a game here. The more people who do what tfloyd did, paying an inremental $6 to Peacock (or even more if you forget to cancel, or if you discover that Peacock’s other offerings are worth keeping) then the more likely it is that streaming services will do this sort of thing and the less and less valuable MLB.TV is on its own.

    Obviously, my own behavior is irrelevant here, and is only aggregated with everyone else’s. But I suspect that if MLB increased the price of its package to offset the money it gets from these deals, both MLB and the MLB.TV subcribers would be better off. (If I’m wrong about that, then I guess there’s not much to be done about than other than complain.)

  6. They’re doing me a favor when they make it hard to watch our Sunday get-away games that we aren’t trying our best to win. Peacock should be paying me to have to sit through Snitker “managing” in extra innings.

  7. If we can’t win it this season (looking increasingly unlikely) I wouldn’t mind seeing the Padres win it. Better them than the Dodgers or Mets.

  8. The baseball media landscape is currently an absolute mess, and MLB has to figure out a way to wade through it. I don’t deny that it’s a tricky situation to have to deal with, but MLB has been terrible at dealing with this kind of thing since I can remember, so I don’t have a whole lot of optimism here.

    The absolute highest priority should be untangling the Bally Sports conflagration as quickly as possible. You’ve got a large number of people right now who have limited availability of their hometown team. That’s the biggest issue, and MLB has shown precisely zero sign of getting it untangled. Bally Sports’ brilliant solution seems to be a direct-to-consumer product for $25 a month that currently has the rights to only five MLB teams that Bally broadcasts (and no, the Braves are not one of them), so I don’t think this issue is gonna resolve without MLB intervention. Might wanna get to work on that.

    The fact that they’re over in the national media arena creating additional problems for themselves while the local issue is ongoing just shows the lack of direction in this area.

  9. Bally’s app is complete trash as well. It doesn’t look like they made any effort to improve it from last season.

  10. The LA market had been similarly balkanized from 2014-2020 with over half of Angelenos unable to see the Dodgers. It’s a mess, but it’s not just Bally’s mess. Note that it took 7 years to solve the problem in LA.

  11. I believe I remember a similar problem in Houston several years ago, too.

    You’re right that it’s not just Bally, but it had previously just been Houston or just been LA (and LA is admittedly one of the worst markets for it to happen to, but it’s still just one team). Bally Sports has regional broadcast rights for around half the teams in the league. I’d say that’s more of a problem for the league than it has ever been before.

  12. One interesting exchange with Andruw in the booth concerned getting the green light on a 3-0 pitch. He claimed that he never once in his career swung at a 3-0 pitch. Bobby as we know loved to green-light folks on 3-0, and he did so often with Jones. Andruw claims, though, that he never took advantage of it. Said that Bobby directly told him to swing, but that he just as directly refused. He told Bobby that he was afraid he would be too anxious and would likely pop up, so he made his own decision to always take.
    FWIW, I find it hard to believe that Andruw never swing at a 3-0 pitch, but that’s what he said.

  13. Andruw might be able to get away with a claim like that if he hadn’t played in the Retrosheet pitch sequence era. As it is, however, in 9302 plate appearances, he had 370 3-0 counts. He fouled off the next pitch 17 times, swung and missed 9 times, and put the next ball in play 24 times. To be fair, he took the next pitch 320 times. (Actually, there were a handful if intentional passes after the first 3 balls as well.) Those 24 in-plays yielded exactly one hit, a single, in LA on August 15, 1998.

  14. @14–I was confident that JonathanF would look at the empirical basis of Andruw’s claim.
    It is remarkable how poor his results were when he swung at a 3-0 pitch. I suspect that perhaps led him to be more and more reluctant to swing 3-0 as his career went on. Of course, whether he was more reluctant to swing 3-0 later in his career can also be empirically tested. Anyone?
    For that matter, it would be interesting to know whether taking a 3-0 pitch at his rate (320 out of 370) is high or low. Also an empirical question for those with access to the data.

  15. I had the same question… on it.

    Unfortunately, we can only answer this question with guys from the 90s and later.

  16. The swing rate on 3-0 pitches in the pitch sequence era is 20260/224970, or about 9%. So Andruw’s swing rate is actually a little higher than average. Of course, since most players had a lot less power than Andruw, you would certainly expect them to swing less… all pitchers, for example. Following shortly with some comparable players.

  17. That’s interesting. I would be willing to bet that all hitters with at least 24 balls in play on 3-0 counts have a higher BA on those than Andruw’s .042. It’s hard to imagine doing worse than that on the so called cripple pitch.

  18. Yeah, Andruw sucked at it, which may be why he doesn’t remember ever doing it. Here are all the players with between 350 and 400 3-0 counts who put more than 20 in play

    Jeromy Burnitz 14/38
    Will Clark 11/21
    Troy Glaus 12/28
    Andruw Jones 1/24
    Dave Justice 16/37
    Jeff Kent 18/45
    Derrek Lee 7/28
    Joey Votto 18/32 (not counting this year)

  19. According to Peacock’s MLB schedule, this past Sunday’s game is the only Braves game they’ll stream this year.

    FWIW, I buy the MLB subscription for the TV access, but I end up listening to the radio broadcasts more than I watch. And yes, my position is that I pay enough already.

    And… I can’t believe I missed this the first go-round. Joc’s a potty-mouthed hoot:
    https://tinyurl.com/JocESFP

  20. Wow…Olson is a really bad defensive 1st basemen. He shouldn’t have three errors already on fairly routine plays

  21. For his career Olson has been a very good defensive first baseman—better than Freddie. But lately he has been dreadful. I guess fielding can slump; that’s why you need a pretty good sample size to evaluate them. I wonder if times like this recent stretch can get a player doubting himself and cause even more errors. Thinking about it can be the problem. You need to be able to do things habitually, let your muscle memory take over.

    I don’t believe it’s not working hard or not trying or not caring. But whatever it is, I sure hope they get over it soon. These errors are driving me up the wall.

  22. The starting pitching this time through the rotation has been quite good. Problem is, little else has been.

  23. Why does Snitker keep trying to use Strider in relief the day before he might start? He’s warming up in the bullpen. It’s almost like he is trying to keep him out of out of the rotation.

  24. Missed the game so far…was Olsons error another LaRochian blunder (as in easyish play he messed up)?

    2 hits so far….not feeling especially confident today.

  25. @31: Yes, basically a carbon copy of his error on Saturday. A weird spinner that he let eat him up.

    I don’t think Brian Jordan is a very good announcer, but I do share his frustration at our lack of approach at the plate.

  26. @32 thanks

    Well at least Ian looks good.
    Thats 4 good starters that seem to have put it together, finally.
    Offense..well that is worrying

    I remember people saying how the braves were going to set a new record for team homers…..yeah, no.

  27. Different ball?
    I heard Olsen would be better than Freeman? Or at least equal.
    I keep hearing Acuna is coming back?
    Which if any of the above are true?

  28. This team leads league in strikeouts …hmmmmm .. at least Arcia went down swinging .. can’t stand guys leaving bat on shoulder … wild pitch beats us .. wow

  29. That was the first good AB any Brave has had all night and it still resulted in a strikeout.

  30. 16 K’s. I mean, the offensive approach has to change, right? Just because we aren’t going to set the home run record doesn’t mean we need to set our sights on the strikeout record

  31. I’m becoming really concerned with Albies, Ozuna, and Duvall.

    Is Duvall done as an everyday player? At least his contract expires after this season. We don’t have an upgrade available internally to replace him right now. Maybe Waters midseason, but he needs more time.

  32. @17 (and trying to forget tonight’s game)

    I had that AB in the database, but I wasn’t trying to get everything exactly right, so I treated that SacFly as a non-hit (which it was). But it also means that anumber of the pother nonhits for the other players I cited might have been non-ABs as well. Good memory, though!

  33. Duvall started the year really badly last year. If it wasn’t for playing Atlanta, he would have been batting in the .160 range for the first 70 or 80 games. We were lucky that Miami kept him for us for the first half of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does something similar this year.

  34. Matzek’s shoulder hurts and he is going to the IL and will get an MRI. Thanks for 2021, Tyler.

    Tucker Davidson is starting tomorrow.

  35. If the Braves lose tomorrow night, they will tie a record set by the 1959 Cubs. If they win, they will own the record. What is the record?

  36. From the start of the season…. Well done sir! Has someone else posted that somewhere?

    I’m next going to check the longest span of time anywhere in the season without a three game losing or winning streak, but it probably isn’t much longer than 37 games.

  37. On May 16 of 2021 Duvall was batting . 223 with a .717 OPS. In a 4 game series against Atlanta in April he was 7 for 14 with 3 homeruns and a double. Without the Atlanta series he would have had a .190 average with a .580 OPS. So far this year he has a .197 average with a .554 OPS.

  38. 47 — I seem to remember reading somewhere about the lack of a streak and thought it was unusual, but I didn’t realize it was close to a record. That was an educated guess.

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