Thanks to AAR and all the Braves Journalistas letting me do the recap for today’s game, and to Mac for making this all possible.
Let’s do this in stages. Stage One: Fun Fact time. Allow me to repeat Slugworth’s comment in the previous thread: “The projected season record is now 147-15.” As facts go, that’s a pretty fun one.
Now, Stage Two: Who am I? Why am I here? Well, I’m John R. Nice to make your acquaintance. I’m here to do the recap.
I grew up on the Braves in the ’80s and was so obsessive about the team that for the first couple years of my fandom I thought TBS stood for “The Braves System.â€ There were a lot of things the Braves shorted us on in the ’80s: things like Wins, On-Base Percentage, games without Rafael Ramirez â€“ those kinds of things. But the one thing they never shorted us on was product. During the ’80s, there were 162 games in the season and you got to see damned near every one of them. With the rock-solid team of Skip, Ernie, and Pete, I was able to savor every Rick Mahler start, thrill to the rise and fall of Brad Komminsk, and witness every time Jerry Royster did something to not get on base. It was a fun ride, with a whole bunch of winning therein, but it has lately come to a cruel end with the dissolution of “The Braves System” on TBS. Now, the games are scattered to the four winds on Fox Sports South and wherever else one is lucky enough to catch a game.
This is all prelude to Stage Three: Let’s Watch The Game!
So I’m not an expert on today’s game. It was blacked out and I didn’t get to watch the whole thing. I thought for sure when the Braves/Nationals was chosen as one of Fox’s national Games of the Week, I’d get to watch it. But I forgot to account for the other game: Devil Rays vs. Red Sox. Florida used to be owned by TBS and the Braves, but now the “powers that be” prioritize network coverage elsewhere around the majors (Tampa Bay Rays) and minors (Miami Marlins). So, thanks, Fox.
I then turned to my dad: “Hey, dad? Didn’t you pay $200 of your hard earned dollars to the cable company for the MLB Extra Innings package?” “Yes, son, I sure did.” “Great, let me just â€“ argh, no Braves/Nationals there, either!” “Well, son, this is how they getcha…” So, thanks, MLB.
So my pops and I settled in to watch the Red Sox and Devil Rays, with the hope there’d be plenty of cuts to the game we really wanted to watch. So here’s what was happening in the Braves/Nats game if you were depending on Fox for your coverage:
Game Break 1: “Strasburg starts out hot. Look at Jason Heyward strike out swinging!”
Game Break 2: They show a second-inning replay of Bryce Harper making a throw from deep short to get Dan Uggla by a mile. â€œUggla tries to score but Harper says ‘Not on my watch!’â€ â€œHeâ€™s got all five tools: he can hit, run, power, speed, and that arm!â€ â€œHeâ€™s also got that sixth tool: Mental makeup!â€ â€œYeah, you canâ€™t buy that sixth tool!â€
Game Break 3: “Look at this home run by Espinosa! Wow! Nationals move within one!
Fed up with this blatantly Nationalistic coverage, I got to watch the last four innings because a friendly Braves fan in the previous thread played Reed Richards and opened up the door to the Negative Zone for me. Thanks to illicit servers in Slovakia, after closing a bunch of pop- up ads in my browser I got to see a feed of America’s Team beating up on the Natspos and it made for a wonderful day of baseball.
Stage Four: What Really Happened.
Yes, Dan Uggla was thrown out at home by Harper in the first. The Braves mounted an itty bitty rally that got Snitkered. The next event of significance: Harper got to watch a ball sail way over his head and into the stands. The ball put his team behind 2-0, a lead they would never overcome. The ball was hit by Evan Gattis, aka El Oso Blanco, aka the New Best Backup Catcher In Baseball. Of course, Gattis actually has the kind of story that Bryce Harper’s coverage would justify. Maybe Fox and MLB and ESPN will catch up one day, but for now the narratives being pushed are “Nationals Ascendant!”, “Harper Is Kind Of Like A God”, and “Braves = Old News So Let’s Ignore Them.” Meanwhile, Gattis smacked his fourth homer in thirty ABs and it didn’t merit a single Game Break from Fox. Screw ’em.
Some other replays we didn’t get to see:
Tim Hudson delivered. Save for his one bad inning in his first start, he’s been nothing short of stopper material. Which is as it should be. He came out very strong against the Nats, spacing three singles in the first four innings, and the solo home run by Espinosa was the only damage they were able to do against him. He finished strong, retiring the last seven batters he faced, and he pitched efficiently: 90 pitches, 60 strikes.
Next up in the bullpen were O’Flaherty and Kimbrel, both of whom we’ve been leaning on a ton in the early going, but they pitched six up, six down baseball between them. Kimbrel picked up his sixth save.
As for the rest of the hitters, Fredi desrves a tip of the hat for starting Ramiro Pena, this year’s Brooks Conrad so far for his stirring play off the bench. He spotted the sputtering Andrelton Simmons at short today, going 2 for 3 with a walk. Chris Johnson continued his good play with a timely hit, putting himself on base in the 9th so he could score an insurance run. Uggla had one hit but he did smack a few balls to very deep parts of the park, but also embarrassed himself on a swinging strike in which he did his best impression of a drunken prima ballerina doing her worst impression of a corkscrew.
Meanwhile, BJ still looks lost, Andrelton’s sole AB was an ugly strikeout, and Heyward continues to be sloppy at the plate. He did make a scintillating catch in right-field, however, stealing a double, pleasing his pitcher greatly, and not meriting a replay from Fox.
Stage Five: The End. Thanks for having me here. Hope it was enlightening and entertaining. If not, don’t blame the house. Yell at me in the comments section.