Two touchdowns beats two safeties: Phillies 14, Braves 4

There’s no truth to the rumor that Rose bet on ending a guy’s career in the All Star Game. He would have, but the betting markets weren’t as evolved as they are today.

My Least Popular Stand

As the calendar turns to July, it’s time for my annual observation where everybody else joins EdK and my wife in thinking I’m an idiot: I don’t want any of my players going to the All Star Game. My reasoning is as follows:

  • Taking your best players and denying them rest at a time when rest is really needed is dumb. In tonight’s game, Snit took Dansby out in the 7th because, in Chip’s words, “he needs a break.” If he needs a break of an hour on June 30th, why not give him three days off in the middle of July if you can?
  • They could get hurt. Ray Fosse, anyone?
  • There was a time when seeing the stars of the game all at once was a unique showcase. With national coverage of baseball the highest it’s ever been, that rationale has been waning for years. As (limited) evidence for that the audience for the All Star Game is shrinking every year.
  • From the misbegotten attempt to make the outcome of the All Star Game relevant, to odd substitution rules to the Home Run Derby eclipsing the game itself, Nobody Cares.
  • The voting and selecting is a transparent attempt to rouse fan interest. I hate that crap.
  • Chip thinks it’s important, which, while not definitive, makes me think I may be thinking in the right direction.
  • We already now have so many awards at the end of the season for good performers that one recognizing three good months of work is unnecessary.
  • Before interleague play, there was always the thought that the All Star Game might provide at least some evidence about which league is stronger. It was almost surely wrong then, and nobody believes it any more.
  • “I ain’t startin’, I ain’t departin’” the great quote from Garry Templeton, has always been a favorite of mine. And I also think of 1978, when Biff Pocoroba made his only All Star Game appearance and was put in to catch the top of the 9th with the NL leading 7-3. After two outs, Phil Niekro was brought in to get the last out. Big whoop.
  • The greatest moment in All Star Game history came in 1934. The second-biggest event was Ray Fosse’s injury. That’s not a lot of return for the last 90 years. The more common sort of game: Willie McCovey grounds into a double play in the 1st, scoring a run which holds up as the only run in 1968.
  • Despite its name, the game is simply not composed only of stars. Pick any All Star roster from, say, 1985-2005. We now know how great or not-great those players’ careers have been. Every All Star team is littered with guys who are not, by any measure, stars. Sometimes it’s because of the “every team represented” rule, but more often it’s because some player had a hot three months. Cesar Izturis, Ron Coomer, anyone? And even more often it’s because the best teams almost never send more than four players, but almost all have more than four stars.
  • But doesn’t it reward players? If there’s a category of humans who need less ego stroking than “established professional athlete” I’m not sure what it is.
  • “Deserves.” Sure, it gives baseball writers something to talk about and, much worse, Chip something to blather on about. Austin Riley didn’t “deserve” to be MVP last year and whether he “deserves” to be the NL starting 3rd baseman this year is something that I find it impossible to care about, because “deserves” has no standards. Every year there are debates about obviously great players who have had a bad three months versus relative unknowns who have had a great three months. It’s a boring conversation.

I’ve written variations on this for years, and nobody agrees with me. But here I stand. Make the whole Mets team the All Star Team. Fine by me. Disagree if you like, but have the courtesy to take on all the arguments above, not just the weakest ones.

Freddie Freeman

It was a three-way negotiation in which there was clearly miscommunication, which might have been advertent or inadvertent. But you’ll never know which it was. Never. Basing your opinion on the post-mortems of the parties, guaranteed to be some unknown combination of self-serving, self-delusion and truth, is hopelessly biased. Accept that and move on.

Brotherly Love? I Don’t Even Have A Brother

So I didn’t watch last week, and I had to watch this week. As my late mother-in-law used to put it: “Some days aren’t worth struggling to get your girdle on.” This was one of those.

The Harperless and Seguraless Phillies don’t have a lot, but they have Aaron Nola. It’s not that Nola can’t be beaten — it’s just that you can be pretty sure he’ll make it hard to score a lot of runs. But the Braves loaded the bases on three scratch hits in the 2nd, and Nola struck out Duvall and got Arcia on a double play to end the inning… or would have had Didi Gregorius understood that a double play requires a throw to first. Didi: you can’t assume the double play. Even Chip knows that.

The lead didn’t last long. Seven of the next 8 men reached base and it was 7-1 pretty quickly. Jethro is now officially a problem: he’s skating away on the thin ice of a new day. This led me to try and find the last game in which Aaron Nola pitched that the opponents scored 7 runs or more. I was surprised to find that it already happened twice this year both times against the Mets, April 13th and May 5th. So why not one in June?

OK… the next couple of innings saw the lead bulge to 12-1. So when was the last time Nola started a game and the opponents scored 12? Well, that was September 6th 2020 against, once again, the Mets.

At that point, it was all over but the homers here and there from Adam Duvall and Michael Harris II. Chicks dig the long ball, but not after they left in the 4th inning.

A bit of comic relief ensued when Mike Ford ptched the 8th. It wasn’t very comic. But he did better than Ian Anderson.


I want to thank Zac in Arlington for his comment yesterday on Chip’s mangled attempt to describe how difficult Mark Appel‘s path to the major leagues has been. I hasten to add that I’m sure Appel has had huge things to overcome, but I’m sure only one of them was an appendectomy: it’s pretty much one to a customer. And I’m pretty sure the biggest issue was the three years he took off. (Actually, Chip was much better on it in the 9th inning tonight when Appel pitched the 9th. I suspect he was better prepared.)

When the game is out of reach, announcers start losing the thread. So I’ll give Chip a pass on anything said after the third inning. Also, the thing that annoys me most about Chip is his analysis, and he stopped analyzing. That said, he and Frenchy did a lot of ASG talking, so my whole critique in the first section applies. Even there, I understand that it’s my opinion that’s the outlier here, so it’s probably annoying only me.

On to July

We’re off to Cincinnati. June was fun. July will be interesting, even though it contains the All Star Game.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

52 thoughts on “Two touchdowns beats two safeties: Phillies 14, Braves 4”

  1. It’s my fault guys. I’ve never seen the Braves win a game live, so my presence at Citizens Bank Park this evening assured an Atlanta loss.

    Once they tagged Ian for a few, his posture on the mound between pitches was just odd. Very jittery. Couldn’t settle down.

    I like spending time at the bullpen at CBP. Closest you can probably get tot he players. And Perez is hilarious, jokes a lot with fans hanging out at the rail above the pen.

  2. Loved the recap and the reasons against the ASG. I actually agree with you on that one. The thought of RAJ playing at the ASG instead of resting makes me very uncomfortable.
    2 out of 3 is fine, especially against a division rival. Time to out Anderson on the IL and fix what’s wrong. We know he is so much better than this. Get Muller up. Let’s win the next series.

  3. Jethro’s performance opens the door for him to be optioned if or when Soroka is activated.

    Ad JonathanF, adding your comment @5 makes the whole recap that much better. I agree that the recap was much much better than the game and better than that game deserved. I turned it off after the third.

    With Rosario and Matzek and, now, Jay Jackson rehabbing at Gwinnett, the team composition may look very different two weeks from now. Getting them and Jansen back will radically improve the team.

  4. Great recap to a not so great game – to say the least. I keep thinking Harris will digress a little bit, but he seems to be improving. At this rate he may be closer to a legitimate MVP candidate at the end of the year than Austin Riley was last year, especially considering his defense. His only weakness right now is his on base skills.

    Austin Riley 2021 – BA .303 OBP .367 Slg .531 OPS .898 OPS+ 133 WAR 6.1
    Michael Harris – BA .325 OBP .348 Slg .526 OPS .874 OPS+ 136 WAR 1.3 (31 games)

  5. Worth it just for: “Didi: you can’t assume the double play. Even Chip knows that.”

  6. @ 7,

    Although we both share in being in Clan Anderson, I must say that Ian either needs to be optioned now or IL’d now. He is not himself. A small part of his problem is that finally scouting reports are catching up to him. But fine command has always been part of his thing, and it isn’t there. We don’t know when or if Soroka will come back. Today, even if Muller hasn’t turned half of the corner yet, he is still a better option than Ian.

    @ 9,

    And, Harris plays a position further up the defensive spectrum and plays that position better. A 70 fielding CF is vastly more valuable than a 45 fielding 3B (and I like Austin and have for a long time). Even if the scouting reports start dinging Harris in a month, if he can hold 250 / 275 / 450 he is still a God send to the organization. And, right now, I am convinced that even if he drops that much this year, there is enough there, there, that he is better than that long term (maybe like 280 / 325 / 530 as his usual long term).

  7. Ron Coomer’s OBP in the year he made an all-star game was .307

    Izturis’ BA at the end of the season was .257

    It does make me wonder though who is the worst player of all time to make an All-Star team. I don’t think it is Coomer and he was a better player than Izturis.

  8. Long time no see, Chief!

    There are a lot of websites that purport to pick the worst picks that I scanned in choosing (pretty randomly) Coomer and Izturis. The worst, though, was probably Frankie Zak, for which you can make the excuse that it was 1944.

  9. From memory, Mark Redman comes to mind.

    Looked up his stats to confirm – 5.38 ERA at the break! Must have been his shiny 6-4 record that got him his spot as the Royals’ lone representative in 2006.

  10. The ASG is all about bonus clauses now, isn’t it?

    I’ll actually give my counter-argument in favor of MLB’s All-Star Game, while conceding your points.

    Generally speaking, ASGs in sports suck. And the REASON they suck is because they are inferior versions of the real thing. That can be because the players don’t play with any level of seriousness (looking at you, NBA), or because The Real Thing requires practice in working as a team. That’s why the NFL’s All-Pro game is soooooo bad.

    OTOH, baseball is, at its core, a one-on-one matchup between a pitcher and a batter. It’s plug and play. It’s why AA was able to make major changes to a roster mid-season and win the World Series. It’s why you can trade for Fred McGriff and install him as your everyday first baseman that same day.

    There are small things that require some coordination between players, like turning a double play, but broadly speaking, MLB’s ASG is actually a Real Game involving some of the best players in the league. The substitutions are gimmicky and nobody is overly concerned with winning, but the core pitcher vs batter matchup is legit.

  11. I remember in the 80s someone was scratched at the last minute so a random Blue Jays middle infielder who happened to be in town was added to the ASG roster. Can’t remember who it was, though.

  12. 16 — Not to mention that in the Pro Bowl they basically play 2 hand touch now. (Understandably)

  13. Basically everybody’s right here. All-star games are inherently stupid in today’s world where you can watch any game at any time (with the below caveat). From a purely practical standpoint, JF is right that there’s no benefit to your team having its players compete in the All-Star Game. And Kenn is right that if you had to rank the all-star games for having the most to do with the actual game, baseball’s easily wins. (And I would say if you had to rank for enjoyment level, as well. Some people like the NBA All-Star Game, but I personally think it sucks out loud…completely unwatchable IMO.)

    As I alluded to above, the lone caveat to the All-Star Game being stupid is to a money-making standpoint from the league. If you got rid of the All-Star Game, the MLBPA would still demand a week off in the middle of the season, I feel fairly certain in saying. You might as well get everybody together, reward your corporate sponsors and your star players, put an event that still gets at least some kind of ratings on broadcast television, etc. There are things you could do that are not the game, but none of that would satisfy JF’s wishes that everyone go home and rest. They’re not going to let baseball just completely go away for a week in the middle of July, which is pretty much the only month of the entire calendar where they’re not having to swat away either the NBA or NFL for viewership numbers.

  14. Wasn’t there a Pirates closer from yesteryear who was the token representative who had an ERA as high as the 6’s? He’d be up there for my pick.

  15. @20

    I’m going to answer my own question, and I definitely think Mike Williams in 2003 has to be the worst MLB All-Star of all-time. He had 25 saves at the break, but he had a 6.44 ERA, though “only” a 5.47 FIP.

  16. It’s been mentioned before, but there was a time when ASG was pretty fun. I still recall really enjoying the 1971 game in Tiger Stadium — lotsa HRs by future HoF guys (incl. Henry Aaron), the titanic blast off the light tower by Reggie Jackson. But yeah, over time, I kinda quit caring, and interleague play definitely sealed the deal.

    The only time I ever had all-star game tickets was the final year of the old Yankee Stadium — in 2008, the Yanks made their season ticket-holders buy the ASG and all its activities (HR derby, fanfest & some other random rip-off events) as a part of that year’s package. I tried like hell to sell all of them. I only sold the HR Derby tix (the one Josh Hamilton hit, like, 57 bombs), but couldn’t sell the ASG tix to save my life. Nobody wanted ’em — it was unbelievable.

    Anyway, I ended up going… & the freakin’ thing went 15 innings. It was like the ASG was saying to me: “Oh, if you don’t love me, I’m gonna make you hate me.”

    But I did get to see Dan Uggla commit 3 errors — all of them in extras.

  17. To commit 3 errors only in extra innings is a talent likely only Dan Uggla could have.

  18. Haven’t cared about the ASG since I was a kid and last year was the icing on the cake.

  19. I always like it when I start a convo. Let me say that I agree with Kenn… Baseball is the only game in which an All Star game is even possible. That doesn’t make it good, but I grant the point.

    I also agree that there probably should be a midseason break. And if you want to have the Home Run Derby (and how about and Old Timer’s game?) (and parties for sponsors) during that time go right ahead. Just don’t invite RAJ.

    And sure… Redmond, Williams…there’s no shortage of nonStars.

    I am pleased to see more take-up on my ideas than in any previous year. When the Braves suck, having an AllStar representative is a sort of drab highlight, I guess. But when you’re in a pennant chase wth talented players? Not so much.

  20. @25 I’ll give you another reason why you shouldn’t care about the ASG.

    In Days of Yore, the ASG was the only way to see these players on the same team. In today’s era of player movement, it’s not such a big deal to see. The Dodgers and Giants still might be rivals, but nobody bats an eye when Joc Pederson goes from the Dodgers to the Cubs to the Braves to the Giants.

  21. I agree that the ASG is nothing to be excited about now, but it was a can’t miss event when I was a kid. I was at the 73 game in KC. It was the only time I got to see Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in person. Both were at the end of their careers, but i still remember it vividly. I really hope there are still a few youngsters out there who will feel the same about seeing the likes of Trout and RAJ, but they are probably few and far between.

  22. Another downside of this year’s All-Star Game is it’s going to stir up the whole Freddie mess again. If he is selected, he’ll be playing for Snit again and it’ll be a whole thing. And I grow deeply tired of that mess.

  23. I agree with almost everything that has been said here about the ASG, but with one additional thought. Those of us who have been around for a while are underwhelmed when we compare it to the games when the two leagues were distinct entities whose teams never played each other except in the World Series and when there was only one national TV game a week so we rarely got to see great players on mediocre-to-bad teams in the other league. I suspect that kids who don’t have those memories are relatively more impressed by the current ASG than we are (as well as by the HR Derby), and it’s reasonable that baseball should think about its appeal to kids.

  24. I missed most of the broadcast’s discussion about Duvall’s return to Cincinnati for the first time since being traded to the Braves in 2018, but I wondered how many of his former teammates are still there. It looks like only four players on this year’s Reds were on the team with Duvall in 2018: Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Lucas Sims, & Joey Votto. (Aristides Aquino played in one game in 2018, but that was after Duvall was traded.) I guess most of the hugs were with coaches & staff.

  25. Just got here, but I’m blacked out. Looks like Fried has his groundball stuff rather than his strikeout stuff and they BABIPed themselves into a run?

  26. hey @JoshKinNJsays, are you going to any more games this weekend, I’m going to all 3 and be down to meet up if you’re interested.

    first time at this ballpark, it’s not bad, but not at nice as petco or the giants park (whatever they’re calling it now it’ll always be pac bell to me)

  27. Question if the day.
    At the end of July whose batting average will be higher
    Arcia or Duvall?

  28. My final thoughts on the ASG are unformed and revolve around video games and fantasy baseball. I’d work it out, but first I have to take a nap and chase these damn kids off my lawn.

    On a completely unrelated note, even though I know it’s a corporate sponsorship, I love the name “Great American Ballpark”. So much better than whatever a “Truist” is.

  29. Arcia has so much to drop that I just can’t see him dropping that low, now if you were to ask who’d have the lower ops, I would be arcia.

    the best part about the name great American ballpark is that it’s just as easy if not easier to say great American bandbox which is an astoundingly accurate nickname for the park

  30. @36, I’ll take Arcia for BA, but Duvall for OPS. I think/hope that Duvall won’t continue to struggle like he has.

  31. @33, my bad, I used to know that.

    How much of a head start would Harris need in a race with the Freeze? 10 yards?

  32. @43 yup, very classy and professional. I’d certainly trust them to have my back if I was looking for an agent. 🙄🙄

    The article’s thesis ain’t necessarily wrong, but his agents need to be above the fray on this. I saw that they were threatening legal action against a talking head who said they didn’t give FF an offer from the Braves. What’s up with that?? How would he possibly be liable for anything?

  33. It’s just gonna go round and round for awhile. And if it looks like it’s gonna die down, I assure you it’ll be back if Freeman makes the All-Star team. Nothing new or useful is going to come of this at this point, and to be honest I really think it would be fantastic if somebody would kill this storyline already…preferably with fire.

  34. Nice bounce back game tonight – really good to see both Ronald and Dansby hitting again. Wish Pham hadn’t tried so hard to cut that last ball off so Dansby could get his triple.

  35. @james Nah, last night was the only one of the Braves series I could make. No plans to attend this weekend. A church softball game is calling my name!

  36. After tonight’s game our first 5 batters and our 9th batter have an OPS over 800. I’ll take it, especially with Duvall heating up and Arcia not far off the pace. Ozuna is definitely our weakest link.

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