Eleven in a row!

I’d say things are going well at the moment. When last I recapped, a week ago, I said that I’d like a 5-1 homestand, with 4-2 not necessarily being the end of the world. So yeah, I’ll take 6-0. The Braves are 5.5 games out of first and are now 3.5 up on Philadelphia after they finally stubbed their toe today. We’re also now in a virtual three-way tie for the wild card. Technically speaking, only two of those teams would actually make the playoffs if they started today (which, not to break any news or anything, they don’t). Also technically speaking, San Francisco is percentage points up on the Braves and St. Louis in that three-way tie which doesn’t currently matter for much.

The Braves got back-to-back homers from William Contreras and Adam Duvall, both of them on pitches that were absolutely destroyed down the left-field line, in the second inning. That gave them a 2-0 lead and, after Bryan Reynolds drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third for Pittsburgh, Duvall came back with his second homer of the day in the fourth. This one was to the opposite field and just cleared the wall, but Duvall seems to be rounding into better shape. I don’t know if it’s the weather warming up, and I don’t know if it’s the fact that he doesn’t have to play center field any longer…who knows? But something’s working for him in a way it wasn’t earlier in the season, that’s for sure.

Reynolds pulled a couple runs back and brought the Pirates to within one in the fifth, homering off of fellow Vanderbilt Commodore Kyle Wright to make it 4-3. Speaking of college baseball, I would love to go back in time to meet 2019 me and ask him why he decided to start following it. Today me would inform him of the shocking news that his college baseball team is every bit as capable of hitting him in the face with a two-by-four as all his other teams are. (I’m a Tennessee fan, for those who haven’t been around here forever and are wondering what in the hell I’m talking about.)

Anyway, the Braves lead was now just 4-3, and the offense had entered full Hibernation Mode after Duvall’s second homer in the fourth. The pitching staff did a good job of shutting the Pirates down during the offensive slumber, though. Wright got through the rest of the fifth and one additional inning, finishing with a line of 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Another solid start for him, as far as I’m concerned. He only had 79 pitches when he left, but it was hot today and so forth…I don’t know, I probably would’ve let him go out for another. But it turned out to be fine, because the good Will Smith made an appearance…a fact for which I noted not a single acknowledgment in the comments section, for the record. I guess I’ll file it away for the next time he issues a one-out walk and everyone goes nuts. I also guess that I’m now the president of the Will Smith fan club, for some reason.

A.J. Minter allowed a one-out single in the eighth…that irritating Bryan Reynolds again. On the plus side, Reynolds had the decency to erase himself from the basepaths and end the inning two batters later as he left too early and got picked off by Minter.

Hibernation Mode ended in the bottom of the eighth, as Matt Olson launched a solo homer to center field to double the Braves lead, 5-3, going into the ninth. I don’t know if it was needed or not, but it was definitely appreciated after Kenley Jansen gave up a leadoff single. The Atlanta closer set down the next three hitters in order, though, to secure the team’s 11th straight win.

Up next, a six-game road trip against two more bad teams: the Nationals and Cubs. Since proclaiming what I would view as a successful road trip has gone so well the last two weeks, I guess I’ll do it again. I’ll take 4-2, with 5-1 serving as the “get greedy” benchmark. I doubt we’re coming home on an Atlanta-record 17-game winning streak. However, I’d be happy to be wrong!

57 thoughts on “Eleven in a row!”

  1. Wouldn’t it be something if the non streakiest team of all time immediately turned around and set a new team record winning streak. Baseball is a wonderful game.

  2. Thank you, Nick, great recap. One through nine, every Braves player is contributing on any given night now that Duvall is heating up. This feels a lot like last year, when you just knew from the start that the team is likely to win when facing a LHP. Make it 12.

  3. Nice Recap, thank you. If it is any solace, you are not alone in feeling bad about the baseball Vols’ early exit.

  4. Atlanta peaked at the exact right time last year. Let’s hope they can have a much better record this year but also manage to peak at the end of the year.

  5. @3 I freely admit I didn’t follow college baseball nearly as closely this year as in past years. So I knew UT was dominating and the clear #1, but when it reached my notice that they had developed a bad rep for showing their ass in the tourney I was surprised.

    So I found myself cheering for ND ALabd happy when UT lost. But I freely admit I didn’t have a dog in the fight. Were UT really being jerks like the rep outside the Knoxville bubble would lead one to believe, or am I wrong?

  6. Up next, a six-game road trip against two more bad teams: the Nationals and Cubs. Since proclaiming what I would view as a successful road trip has gone so well the last two weeks, I guess I’ll do it again. I’ll take 4-2, with 5-1 serving as the “get greedy” benchmark. I doubt we’re coming home on an Atlanta-record 17-game winning streak. However, I’d be happy to be wrong!

    If you guesstimate that the Braves have a 2-in-3 chance of winning each of the games on the road trip, there is a (2/3)^6= 8.8% chance that we run the table.

    This winning streak has been lots of fun to watch – all the sudden, the Braves are getting clutch hits when needed and the pitching has been rock solid. Over the course of the winning streak, the Bravos have outscored our opponents 74 – 31… scoring 7 runs a game and giving up 3 is a great formula for victory!

  7. @5

    They kind of did that all season, not just in the tournament. They decided to take on the role of villains and so got involved in a bunch of silly crap that they didn’t need to, if you ask me. It wound up not helping them very much in the end. When it really hurt (and this happened a couple of times this season, including the other day) is when they decided to extend that role of villain to interactions with umpires, which went about as well as you could imagine.

    Incidentally, college baseball may be a window into how MLB looks once all the old-school hardasses have been weeded out. Essentially, if somebody’s a jerk to you, you don’t stoically plunk them in the ribs…you just be a more over-the-top jerk right back. It made me feel like I was following professional wrestling at times, and I’m not sure it’s an improvement. There is much less justification of what’s essentially aggravated assault, so I guess that’s a plus.

  8. The nice thing about several of these last games is that the team was not firing on all cylinders, but they still managed to win, led by good starting pitching with contributions from the pen and whoever happened to poke it over the fence that day.

    Can’t say enough about Kyle Wright. I think he’d be a deserving candidate for the NL All-Star team, but I think he’s my personal pick for team MVP this year.

  9. Eleven-game winning streak & 11-0 in June. Gotta like that symmetry.

    The pitching has been terrific, of course, but finally getting genuine contributions from Duvall & Ozzie is huge, and Dansby’s really raking.

    Yup, let’s keep getting fat on the bottom feeders (Nats & Cubs), b/c the next 10 are vs. +.500 teams (SF, LAD & Pha).

    BTW, we entertain the Mets July 11-13, then we play them 9 times within the space of 2 weeks in August.

    Also, not going to go crazy about it, but the Mets have a remarkably soft schedule in Sept/Oct.

  10. @9 The small adjustments made to the roster have made such a huge impact. Muller, Ynoa, Newcomb, and Davidson combined to give up 34 runs in 29.2 innings. That’s bad enough as it is, but that gutted our chances at winning those games and put incredible strain on the rest of the staff. They were hung with 5 of our losses all on their own. Replacing them with Strider, Chavez, Stephens, and Dylan Lee have radically changed win probability in those games.

    Upgrading from Duvall to Harris, upgrading Ozuna’s defense to Duvall’s defense, and replacing Rosario and Dickerson’s bats with Contreras have just been all of these small moves that have added up. They’ve basically turned over 20%+ of their roster in the last month.

  11. Harris has definitely exceeded expectations so far and has made a huge difference. The thing is his hitting has been good but he’s not on an otherworldly hitting rampage that is not sustainable. If they continue to do well, before it’s over, him and Strider could be ROY candidates. Wright looks to be 20 innings over the ROY threshold, although 38 of his 70 innings before this year came in the 2020 Covid year.

  12. @9 Agreed. I’m not sure Albies has turned the corner, and Olson needs to wake up. And Duvall is coming around. There’s not a glaring hole in the lineup, and it’s different guys contributing different days – which is what you want.

    Defense has improved. And the pitching is strong. That’s what makes our run seem much more sustainable than say the heater that the Phillies and Marlins have been on lately.

  13. Minimum 50 PAs, Harris is 19th amongst rookies in wRC+ and tied for 15th in fWAR, so he has a ways to go. From a “fWAR per game” standpoint, it looks like he’s in the top 5 or 6. Fangraphs seems to be buggy and won’t finish the search of only rookies in, say, the month of June, but I would suspect Harris is near the top of that list.

  14. It looks like the Cubs have DFA’d Newcomb. Hopefully he’ll put it together someday, somewhere.

  15. Chicago stuck him in the pen. Some team that’s gonna lose 100 games needs to give him 15 starts.

  16. I think Newcomb might have lost some of his stuff. He isn’t just walking the park, but now he is getting hit hard too.

  17. BJ says that Soto has been taking too many close pitches. I guess he’d say the same thing about Bonds, Williams, and Ruth.

  18. Why am I blacked out of this game? I live in Ohio. DC is more than eight hours away. I’ve never been blacked out of DC games before.

    Is there something else happening here?

  19. Anderson’s 1.163 OPS against him the third time through the order does not fill one with confidence.

    And one hopes Orlando Arcia can hack it. We’re about to see an awful lot of him.

  20. Not good. He broke his elbow on a swing in the minors I believe. That is odd injury to get on a swing.

  21. I will say my first two thoughts were Achilles or knee (though he was walking around too successfully for the Achilles, it seemed). A broken foot is almost certainly better than the worst of both of those, I guess.

    On a positive note, Dansby is raking right now!

  22. I guess Arcia is the everyday 2nd baseman now for at least the next 6-8 weeks (if it’s a Lisfranc injury Ozzie’s out for the year). Kramer Robertson, recently claimed off the waiver wire, would seem to be the logical replacement on the 26 man roster as the utility infielder.

  23. We’re starting to get in the area of the summer where a trade isn’t totally out of the question. I guess it’ll somewhat depend on Ozzie’s prognosis, but do you attempt to roll with Arcia and whoever we call up from Gwinnett or do you try to make a trade?

  24. Why not leave Lee in instead of O’Day?

    Because obviously O’Day and Olson are going to turn a great double play

  25. The bullpen has really been great. And the Braves have hit 22 home runs during this 12 game streak

  26. The Braves fourth and fifth starters have to improve. They force too many innings of relief.
    Albies will be a tough lost. Arcia will be hitting two hundred in no time.

  27. Sucks with Ozzie. Arcia should be an okay sub for him. Let him play. This team is on fire. Different guys coming through every night it seems and Dansby of course. Let’s make it 13.

  28. I’m hoping for good news on Ozzie, but I do fear the worst. Hopefully he can come back this year. Arcia will be fine. It’s more if another injury hits, then we’ll be scraping the bottom of the barrel for infielders.

  29. Bat Arcia 9th, hope he plays a good 2B & hope Ozzie’s available at some point in 2022.

    Five games out now…. was 10.5 not so long ago.

  30. Injuries are inevitable

    The Braves did OK in the end last year having lost Ronald for half a season

    It’s certainly easier for someone like Arcia to “step up” in the midst of an offensive surge, but I’d bat him 8th as I like Harris batting in front of Ronald

    And if Arcia fades then all the MI that have been stashed recently can have a try out. And failing that, AA will get on the phone for a season long rental

  31. Mets have Brewers, Marlins and Astros the rest of the month. 9 of 14 at home.

    We have Nats, Giants, Cubs, Dodgers and Phillies. 8 of 15 on the road.

    I’m very happy we’ve made up the ground we have. Conservatively, I’m not certain we make up too much more over the rest of June.

    Maybe we make up a little in early July. But that 3-game set with the Mets beginning 7/11 is looming very large.

    Fun run to the AS Break!

  32. If anyone was watching the Nats feed last night, there was a big chant from behind the visitor’s dugout after Michael hit his home run. He had to come out for a bow, but the gNats announcers said “that’s for the Braves’ feed to show”. I love that kid and it sounds like everyone else loves him too.

  33. I don’t know if you guys saw the interviews after the game, but a few things stuck out.

    1) Dansby seems like a great human being who it’s hard not to pull for. I hope he continues his string of success and can re-sign with us. He also had some cool things to say about Harris.
    2) Ozzie will be missed for more than just his production. He brings a lot of energy to the team. As Dansby said, you don’t see better teammates than Ozzie.
    3) Michael Harris has a tremendous work ethic and is proving he belongs in the majors in every way.

    I know team chemistry can sometimes be overrated, but I believe as Chief said when he met with some of the team last year, this is a great group to be around.

  34. Last night’s recap will be late but I’ll get it up this morning.

  35. This whole team feels hard not to cheer for. Clubhouse and organizational culture seems enviable vs. most in the league and certainly every other team in the division.

    Do we think Dansby has taken the leadership mantle from Freddie?

  36. @55: I have no idea, but I am absolutely sure that the concept of “leadership” in this context is sufficiently elastic as to be meaningless, or, to state it another way, to mean whatever it is you want it to mean.

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