Dodgers use ninth-inning comeback to take series from Braves

Well, that didn’t end well.

I was planning on beginning this recap with a bit of a rejoinder to the folks who on Friday were talking about us still being inferior to the Dodgers. It has a bit less force now that that happened, but I do still believe that we are not. I don’t necessarily mean that the Dodgers aren’t slightly better than us on paper. They may be. But the kind of existential dread that used to wash over us when we were about to play the Dodgers is gone for me, and it should be gone for you. We are essentially their equal. It honestly may be the best current rivalry in the National League. And as with any roughly equal rivalry, we got a series that was completely up-for-grabs from the first pitch.

It looked like the Braves were about to take the series, and then suddenly they didn’t. Kenley Jansen had two outs with a 2-0 lead in the ninth, and two strikes on Gavin Lux. Lux had a good at-bat and ripped a ball to right field for a base hit to keep the game going. Chris Taylor, representing the tying run, singled on the next pitch and then stole second on the tortoise-like delivery of Jansen to put the tying runs in scoring position. However, at the plate was Trayce Thompson, and he had absolutely nothing. He had no chance against Jansen, and it was very clear that this was the case. Jansen induced a wounded duck of a line drive to first, which Thompson didn’t even see off the bat. Yet somehow, it found it’s way into right field to tie the game. For the record, Olson was playing way too far in on it, and I have no idea why he was. But regardless of where the fault lay for that, it was suddenly 2-2. Michael Harris made a great play to end the inning, but the game was now a toss-up.

The Braves did nothing in the ninth. I’m tempted to treat the scoring of the Manfred Man (I’m gonna start using that name for it now, too) as status quo in extra innings, because it essentially is. Freddie Freeman drove in the Dodgers’ Manfred Man in the 10th, which of course the network fixated on. The Dodgers didn’t score anything that was actually likely to win the game, though, as Matt Olson made clear in the bottom half of the inning. The Braves actually had a chance to win it, though, putting runners at first and second with one out and the score tied. Arcia struck out, though, and William Contreras hit a fly ball to the base of the wall in center, but Cody Bellinger ran it down. The Dodgers did actually score the all-important second run in the 11th, and the Braves had no answer.

The ninth-inning collapse wasted an outstanding start by Spencer Strider. He went six innings of shutout ball and allowed just five hits and struck out seven. He didn’t walk a soul. He was particularly impressive wriggling out of a second-and-third, one-out jam as he tired in the sixth. He induced a fielder’s choice groundout, as the Braves caught Freddie Freeman trying to score on the contact play. He then absolutely screwed Justin Turner into the ground with a series of sliders to end the inning.

I actually think both sides are right in the ongoing conversation about whether Strider should stay in the rotation or move to the bullpen. It’s clear that we do need some bullpen help at the moment, particularly right-handed bullpen help. Snitker has to do something about that hole, even if it’s promote Collin McHugh to late-inning work, but I know that’s not what anybody has in mind. On the other hand, how can you demote Strider back to the bullpen if he’s capable of what he showed tonight and in virtually every start since his promotion? Answer: You can’t. Not right now, anyway. We have to find another solution. It’s getting close enough to trade season where it might be possible to swing a deal, or if not, the current bullpen can probably hold on another couple weeks until that possibility opens up. Either way, it’s clearly an area that needs addressing.

On a final side note, I thought ESPN did a pretty good job last night of chronicling Freddie’s weekend and throwing in the mild dyspepsia with the whole thing that seems to be building in the Dodgers camp. I alluded to this a couple times over the weekend, but I don’t know how you’re supposed to process everything that happened if you’re a Dodger. It was way over-the-top, and Freddie made perfectly clear that he’d rather still be here than where he currently is. I mean, what exactly are you supposed to do with that information? There’s not much to do at this point except move on and be glad that the teams don’t play each other very much…and hope that by the next time they do, Freddie will have compartmentalized a little more successfully. And he very badly needs to work on doing that, or to coming to better terms with what happened.  

Anyway, let’s go to Philly and wash this bad taste out of our mouths. This road trip features three in Philly and three in Cincinnati, and I want 5-1 after last night’s failure. If they come home 4-2, I’d shrug and take it.

60 thoughts on “Dodgers use ninth-inning comeback to take series from Braves”

  1. Guessing McHugh didn’t pitch because he was still recovering from his 40 pitch outing on Friday when down 3-0. Quite a few pitches a few days removed from his IL stint.

    The pen is a collection of oddities. They are 1st or 2nd in FIP and ERA, but just slightly above average in WPA, and are 2nd in MLB in blown saves. Poor timing, bad luck or mismanagement?

  2. “Anyway, let’s go to Philly and wash this bad taste out of our mouths.”

    That would be ideal, of course . . . But, even with Harper out, the Phils are hot. I fear that the Braves are about to go through some things up here in Filthy-delphia.

  3. While I don’t like losing 2 of 3 to LA, I agree that this is not panic time. The Braves almost beat them without Acuña and Albies, and with Ozuna and Duvall struggling mightily.

    With both the roster and bullpen, I think AA & Snitker have earned the benefit of the doubt with their moves last season. Late last season, maybe in the playoffs, I heard a sports talking head say that, for all of our criticisms, Snitker seems to generally get these pitching staff calls right. I know It’s hard for me to admit, but maaaaaayyyyyybe he knows better than I do.

  4. @4 I think at this point Snit is limited to what he has to use, and like has been stated here many times before, if a player is on the roster he is eventually going to use him. In regard to O’Day I wish he would go with the Heredia usage model but I don’t think he has a choice right now…

  5. I agree that Strider has been successful as a starter, but I’ll reiterate what I said on Saturday. He’s only in his 2nd professional season and has never pitched more than 94 innings. He also had his innings limited in college due to Tommy John and Covid. Go ahead and leave him in the rotation for now, but in the 2nd half his workload will have to be monitored.

  6. @6 the innings is a really good point. As much as I love Strider, I’ve seen way too many young arms ruined by overuse. I think today’s managers and execs are pretty smart on this, so I’m sure he’ll end up back in the pen at some point.

    I will believe in Soroka when I see him on a mound, but man, it’s great to imagine Mike taking Spencer’s spot in the rotation.

  7. This is the best forum. Best writers and replies. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND
    ALL TEAMS HAVE INJURIES
    ALL TEAMS HAVE BAD LUCK
    ALL TEAMS AFTER AT LOSE CAN SAY WHAT IF
    ALL TEAMS HAVE PLAYERS OVER AND UNDER PERFORMING
    ALL TEAMS WILL MORE THAN LIKELY LIVE UP TO THEIR TRUE TALENT. TALENT THAT IS BEST VIEWED DAILY AND NOT ASSIGNED A GROUP OF WORTHLESS NUMBERS.
    KINDLY WAIT UNTIL THE SEASON IS OVER TO MAKE FINAL EVALUATIONS.
    MORE ACCURATE AT THAT TIME.
    BUT REJOICE AND BITCH DAILY.
    I WATCH EVERY GAME BECAUSE I RECEIVE GREAT JOY FROM SWANSON, HARRIS, ACUNA, OLSEN (HALF THE TIME). YOU ARE CORRECT HE IS AN AVERAGE FIELDER.
    FROM THE STARTING PITCHERS. WELL ANDERSON GIVES ME HEART BURN.
    MINTER, JENSEN AND OTHERS NOW AND THEN
    THESE CAN GO OZUNA, ARCIA, SMITH
    THE MANAGER
    I HOLD OUT HOPE FOR ORTHERS
    AND HINDSIGHT IS ALWAYS 20/20

    Lighting could have won that series.
    If they played better. But they did not.
    Congratulations to Mississippi State

    4 and 2 would be okay. Gets you over a hundred wins for 162. Good efforts, playing good baseball makes me happy

    Bob Dylan No Direction Home : The Soundtrack A Martin Scorsese Picture
    Not equal The Last Waltz. Nothing is.

  8. I’m sure Mississippi State feels worthy of congratulations after they didn’t make the tournament at all and their archrival won the College World Series.

  9. I do believe I’m responding to a bot (or a reasonable facsimile) … however…

    Funny, I was at the Yankee game on Sunday & the topic of “The Last Waltz” came up. One of my buddies had never seen it & I told him that I had an extra, un-opened DVD of the re-issue from a few years ago, and he could have it.

    His response: “Is that the one where they digitally removed Neil Young’s coke booger?”

    Indeed, it is. But he still looks plenty awake.

    P.S. – You mean Ole Miss, right?

  10. Yes sir. They beat Mississippi State maybe. I watch girls, men, Marlins, Ray’s, Braves and believe it or not at 79 run a business, read two books a week, five news papers, some magazines and go to concerts, and sporting events. Saw the Band at least 20 times. Levon Helm and his daughter at Ruth Eckert Hall ( Saint. Pete) just months before he died.
    My favorite band along with Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Avett Brothers and The National. Dylan, Mitchell, Patti Smith and old Van Morrison. Of course others. Been to over 2k concerts. I talk too much. My apologies.

  11. Yes sir. They beat Mississippi State maybe. I watch girls, men, Marlins, Ray’s, Braves and believe it or not at 79 run a business, read two books a week, five news papers, some magazines and go to concerts, and sporting events. Saw the Band at least 20 times. Levon Helm and his daughter at Ruth Eckert Hall ( Saint. Pete) just months before he died.
    My favorite band along with Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Avett Brothers and The National. Dylan, Mitchell, Patti Smith and old Van Morrison. Of course others. Been to over 2k concerts. I talk too much. My apologies.

    I might add only a few people on the planet are correct all the time. None on this forum need apply.

  12. EdK, in all seriousness, if you’ve been to that many concerts has it caused hearing damage? I’m still recovering from the last concert and it wasn’t that loud.

  13. Of course, the Dodgers got shut out tonight by the Rockies (who we swept). So except for a 2-run 9th last night, the Dodgers have not scored in 17 of the last 18 regular game innings.

  14. If I were the Dodgers, I would be less than enamored with the schedule makers for forcing me to fly across the country without a day off after Sunday Night Baseball.

  15. The Dodgers should thank ESPN rather than the schedule maker — the game was scheduled for early afternoon before getting switched to the game-of-the-week about 2 weeks ago.

  16. Phila sports radio up here RAVING about the Braves organization. Oozing jealousy over AA and his moves last year.

    Also had a host from Atlanta on as a guest, saying how WEIRD Freddie’s display of emotion was the whole weekend.

    Lastly, talked about how crucial this series could be for both, but noted the Braves probably have their eye a lot more on the Mets than the Phillies.

    Just my takeaways from the morning commute. Shared for your entertainment.

  17. @19 -as good as Strider looked last outing .. he needs to go to the closer role and stay in bullpen .. we can try Muller or Elder again as 5th starter … but we need Strider worse in the bullpen … and maybe Soroka can get back soon …

  18. @20

    At least. An aging pitcher with a recurring irregular heartbeat issue that they can’t get to stop despite repeated ablation procedures…I don’t think the chances that he’s done are zero.

    For the record, DOB apparently thinks Minter could have a chance at the closer role as well.

    @Bravey

    Moving Strider to the closer role doesn’t even solve the problem we were talking about the other day. It just replaces Jansen with Strider and the late-inning righty issue remains.

  19. @23 ..I agree Nick … we still do need to address late inning with a Power RH arm … I just think Strider can affect more games in the bullpen .. till we get a arm back .. Jansen could well be done .. if any doubt he needs to address ..Ive had ablation procedure .. they do have to be addressed alot … so dont know if he will have another one or ?? but he can have the irregular heartbeat sitting in a chair .. so it will up to him .. there may be days he cant go .. or he may decide to retire but considering he have had ablation in past he may decide to get another ??? But if we leave Stride as a starter we will suffer in bullpen for when the other 4 starters are pitching … we are really hurting now ..ODay is washed up 5.0 ERA , Stephens has a 7 ERS past few games … McHugh has been bad .. we have NO RH relievers that are dependable …

  20. @26 yup. I think Freddie took a hands-off approach and is really regretting it now. Which I get, but at the end of the day, he’s responsible for what his agents did.

    I love the guy, and I get the first weekend back being emotional. But long term, he needs to move on and embrace the Evil Dodgers. It’s not like he ended up in Oakland or Pittsburgh.

  21. Moving Strider into the closer role is a solution until KJ returns, but it also helps reduce Strider’s innings. I love him as a starter, but he makes the most sense as a short term substitute

  22. Not really sure how I’m supposed to feel about Freddie. I mean, ultimately, he is responsible for his own career. Even if his agent made a bad play… that’s still on him. If I knew that Matt Olson was an alternative possibility, then they definitely knew.

    I love Strider as a short-term closer, and I love him even more as a post-season middle-relief/bridge guy. It’s just that he’s been pretty dominant in 2 of his last 3 starts…

    And did you know that Kenley Jansen’s middle name is Geronimo?

    Off to Citi Field to root for the Houston Asterisks…

  23. @29 Yeah, that seems like complete mismanagement and borderline negligence by his agents when everyone knew Olson was an option

  24. C’mon Freddie. You’re gonna retire with a quarter billion in the bank and it’ll probably grow if invested well. You’ll be alright. Cheer up. You can be our DH in 2029.

  25. I have every ounce of confidence that Morton will barf back the entire two-run lead immediately, with extra runs as a sweetener.

  26. If this is a triple play then the Phillies are so bad at the basics. I think it’s probably a triple play.

    No, better angle, should be double play.

    Also, that was legitimately a hell of a play by Duvall.

  27. I know Contreras has cooled off, and Acuña is hurt, but… really? Mike Ford is our best option at DH?

  28. Just get rid of Ozuna…please. At least he has proven time and time again that he is less then a high school level outfielder

  29. Snitker has been generally leaving the starting pitchers in too long this season. Here is another example. Charlie hasn’t even been dominant tonight.

    And it’s getting to the point where Ozuna should never be in the field. Just leave him at DH and start Heredia. Mike Ford’s bat isn’t good enough to sacrifice that defensive exchange.

  30. @38 well said

    Another top flight bullpen management job…seems like Lee against the lefty may have been appropriate but Snit was probably napping

  31. It seems to me that Ozuna prefers to try sliding catches vs. headfirst dives. I wonder if that is because of his shoulder history? Has anyone noticed if he ever slides headfirst on the bases?

  32. Lord help us…McHugh is warming up. At some point we need to upgrade the soft tossers….right?

  33. Are the doubles becoming homers and the hot streak is starting for Olsen right after Freddie Freeman comes to town and leaves? That would be poetic.

  34. McHugh came in with a 3.38 ERA/2.76 FIP. He’s been fine. He just relies on breaking stuff more than his subpar fastball.

  35. Chip just apologized for doing something he does five or six times every game. I guess that’s progress.

  36. Freddie trying to be the anti-Heredia. Great numbers and a bummer in the clubhouse.

  37. Ok, now we have 2 LHB up, would be a good time to go to Minter. I think Snitker feels too old to walk to the mound sometimes.

  38. Man, I feel like we are getting some bad ball-and-strike calls in our favor this last week, after eating them the other way around most of the year.

  39. McHugh was great tonight and has been serviceable this year. You just don’t need three of McHugh, Chavez and O’Day. One of those needs to be a power arm and the one on the outs should be O’Day

  40. Wow. We are an aggressive baserunning team this year. Sometimes it bites us, but that play was pretty great.

  41. Great win. They certainly needed that after last Sunday.

    Oh, a bit late, but I find the thought of Freddie as the anti-Heredia amusing. Good comment, JonS

  42. Great win! And McHugh looked pretty good, so maybe he would be OK as the late-inning righty. I still think we need to trade for somebody.

    On the Freddie situation, I started on Friday not being sure how I would feel about what I was seeing if I were affiliated with the Dodgers. I’m now pretty sure exactly how I would feel about this if I were Dodger or Dodger fan. Freeman might need to hire a new agent posthaste so that there’s somebody who can tell him to chill out. So he’s miserable. That sucks. But it’s partially his fault, and the place he’s “stuck” is his hometown and a perennial World Series contender. It could be way worse. And it may wind up eventually being so if he doesn’t cool it. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause to my knowledge, and he definitely doesn’t have 10/5 rights anymore, so…yeah.

  43. Saw the Astros skull-drag the Mets in Flushing tonight, which was oddly satisfying.

    Just 4 GB now w/ a Verlander/Walker matchup tomorrow afternoon.

  44. I’m about Freddied out, but Peter Moylan had a good take: Freddie had a vision for his career and it was completely taken away from him. I think that sums it up.

    There’s been some criticism of AA not picking up the phone and calling Freeman directly, but EOF and Moylan agreed that’s not how things work. AA conducted himself like a GM should – work through the agent.

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