All Seven and We Watched Them Fall: Rockies 2, Braves 11

In the unforgettable words of Annie Savoy: Oh, my.

I think we’ve definitively answered the question of how the team would react to the season-ending injury to Timmy Lupus.

I’ll try my best not to belabor this, simply because I’m sure you, like me, are anxious to get back to basking in the afterglow of a seven-game homestand that was both epic and perfect, against the Best Team in the National League™ and the most dependable punching bag the Braves have had over the last twenty years. It doesn’t get much better than this, not in the regular season.

Julio Teheran (who still needs a decent nickname in the worst way) loaded the bases twice in the first two innings, but allowed only a single run on a Corey Dickerson sacrifice fly. To be fair, this Rockies lineup was missing CarGo (wrist injury) and Cuddyer (personal absence), but their replacements are Major League hitters, too, and Julio needed 57 pitches to get through the first two frames. Joe Simpson was of the opinion that Julio was throwing too many strikes (and, indeed, he would match a career high of eleven strikeouts, but on this night he did so in five innings, in an eye-popping span of only 22 batters). Brian McCann talked to the young man and things improved; he finished the 2nd inning by striking out Troy Tulowitzki looking, upon which Tulo entertainingly got himself ejected by simply repeating over and over to home plate umpire Marvin Hudson the phrase, “It’s not a strike. It’s not a strike. It’s not a strike.”

It was a strike.

While Teheran was working out the kinks, his teammates continued the offensive tear they’ve been on all week. Bottom 1st, Jason Heyward reinforced his manager’s decision to start batting him first by leading off with a walk, and Justin Upton followed that with a two-run bomb. (I think he’s back.) Bottom 2nd, Andrelton Simmons singled to start the inning and Julio promptly doubled him in to put Atlanta up 3-1. (Gattis, mired in a pretty blah slump, grounded out to third base with men on the corners; this recapper has doubts about his ability to serve as our full-time catcher. If anything like livable terms are available, Frank Wren must re-sign McCann, IMHO.) Bottom 3rd, Teheran started things off with his second hit of the night and J-Hey launched his own 2-run shot to increase the Braves’ lead to 5-1. (I think he likes the leadoff spot.)

New reliever Scott Downs followed up his sparkling debut with another strong inning in the 6th, throwing only eight pitches in the process. The top of the 7th featured the only moments of potential drama, as David “Cup Of A” Carpenter put two men on while getting two outs and was relieved by Feliz Navidad. Feliz wasn’t so Felizitous, allowing D.J. LeMahieu to score and bringing the tying run to the plate. But 5-2 was as close as the Purple Pitcher Eaters would get, and they’d find themselves a lot farther away before it was all over.

Bottom 7th, it occurred to Fab 5 Freddie Freeman that he hadn’t gotten a hit yet. In a game against the Rockies, his personal whipping boys, no less. This would not do. Accordingly, he smacked a single to center, his eighth hit of the series. BMac (did I mention we have to re-sign him? We have to re-sign him) executed a nice hit-and-run to move Fab 5 Huggy Bear to third base to put men on the corners with one out for Chris Johnson, who was working on a streak of six straight multi-hit games. The number of the day being 7, CJ Jr. smacked a long single down the left field line, plating Freeman for a 6-2 advantage. Simba struck out to end the frame, which was news as it was his first K in 65 plate appearances, stretching back to before the All-Star break. So that was neat.

And then, in the bottom of the 8th, the wheels came off of the Pike’s Peak Railway engine car. Joey Terdoslavich singled and Jason walked and Justin hit his second home run of the night, a three-run dinger that made this a 9-2 laugher. (I really think he’s back.)  Then Fab 5 Huggy Bear doubled to left because he was still sore about forgetting to get a hit against the Rockies until the 7th inning, which I think we can all understand.  Then Todd Cunningham hit a sharp single to Inspiration Point. After Cunningham advanced on a wild pitch by something called an Edgmer Escalona (I gotta run over to Home Depot tomorrow and pick one of those up for my lawn), Freddie came in to score on a ground-out from McCann. Accordingly, Edgmer was not allowed to throw any more pitches and gave way to the Rex Brothers, who I believe are a circus acrobatics team from the Czech Republic. Li’l CJ, unimpressed by the thought of how a mere 2-for-5 night would barely augment his league-leading batting average, decided 3-for-5 was more fitting and singled in Richie Cunningham. Todd. Whatever. And Antony Varvaro (who apparently doesn’t exist in Baseball-Reference.com’s database) mopped up with a perfect top 9th.

Man, what else is there to say? It was the Braves’ first perfect homestand of at least seven games since April of 2000, and only their second since moving to Atlanta in 1966. They scored 40 runs in 4 games. 40 freakin’ runs. And, oh yeah, the team that looked to set a new record in strikeouts for the first three months of the season had as many home runs as strikeouts (3) in this game. While we were moping about their homer-or-sit-down approach, they’ve come out of the All-Star break manufacturing runs and keeping the line moving and then simply augmenting that process with two- and three-run bombs. Not surprisingly, it’s working out pretty well. Their division lead has grown to a tidy 11.5 games. It’s only early August, but you’ll take that every time.

Bottom line: yes, obviously they won’t keep playing this well forever. But their robust streak has come at a perfect time, as their closest rivals have fallen fast and hard. Clearly our Atlanta Braves have done what we hoped: they’ve taken their fallen leader’s injury as extra incentive to get out there and kick some serious butt. It might just be enough to power them deep into October.

(Enjoy it while you can. Melvin Jr. is almost back.)

111 thoughts on “All Seven and We Watched Them Fall: Rockies 2, Braves 11”

  1. Excellent recap! Maybe BJ will come back on fire. As Sam said recently, Gattis isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. I guess Constanza goes down for BJ, Cunningham for Schafer, and Terdo for R. Johnson. Terdoslavich is looking like he may stick somewhere -not sure if it will be Atl long term.

  2. We use to call Avery “The Kid”. I think we can slap the same label on Teheran now.

    Wonderful recap, thanks! I can not help it, but I am looking at the standing once every 10 minutes…and I am loving it.

  3. @3

    Me too. :-)

    I keep wanting to call him Julio “I Am Not Iranian” Teheran. Feels a little longish for casual use, though. :P

  4. Love your recaps. Thank you.

    “I gotta run over to Home Depot tomorrow and pick one of those up for my lawn” – Laughed out very loud.

  5. I’d play up the Iranian non-connection and call him The Iron Sheik, who according to Wikipedia, still lives in Fayetteville, GA

    Or maybe cut it to “The Iron.” — there. I’ve made a. Reference without making a direst reference.

  6. The typos in my prior post are the result of trying to type in the train.

    The advantage of “The Iron” is that if you pronounce it with a big enough drawl, it’s an anagram of Teheran (The Aren).

    Or, if you want an internet meme: Julio Teh Pitcher

  7. Or you could do what Chris Berman and call him Julio, “Do you know the local time in” Teheran.

  8. You could ignore the Iran thing altogether and go with words that Teheran sounds like… Like, teflon? The Teheran Don?

  9. @17: Since we seem giddy every time he pitches (at the risk of sounding a little girly): Tee-Hee.

    OK. I’m done with monikermaking for today.

  10. When he pitches poorly, we could call him Ju-Ju-Julio in reference to the Phil Collins Song Which Shall Not Be Named.

  11. @23 – Easy there, Easy Lover, we’re not going to prepare for any “pitching poorly,” around here.

    As an aside, wouldn’t it be great if we developed a player named Phil Collins? He could have a different nickname every night.

    Hell, if we’d held on to Tim Collins, we could just pretended.

  12. Tremendous recap.

    Teheran has the stuff to throw a perfect game. It’s that ridiculously good and fortunately, he’s still a pup.

    If this season ends the way we hope it does, we will look back at the day the lineup was optimized as a catalyst for success.

  13. I wonder if, though it might sound silly, Julio getting in to trouble in the first inning with little squibbers, and the resulting need to blast his way through like Rambo or something, might have made him a little contact-conscious. Maybe just got off on the wrong foot there.

  14. Loved the recap. It provided many chuckles, though I suppose a 7-game winning streak has me predisposed to said chuckles.

  15. Okay, my comment seems to have come online. But where’s my Edit function?

    Kidding, of course! I hope GoDaddy don’t persist in being non-communicative bastards. Perhaps someone from Mac’s family with his SSN or other confidential information could crack the wall there?

  16. Crazy! We got so excited about an awesome homestand that we broke Braves Journal. Hope all can be straightened out with GoDaddy without too much of a headache!

    Alex, it hit me that tomorrow is the 5th year anniversary of Skip’s death. If I put a small thing together with some of my favorite Skipisms, would you post it as tomorrow’s game thread (if that’s not stepping on anyone’s toes)? Or are things too crazy to do that right now?

  17. Often heard from Skip during the ’70s & ’80s: “That game was about as much fun as writing an alimony check.”

  18. Game delayed by a ceremony? What are they doing, retiring Ruben Amaro Jr.’s cell phone?

  19. @40

    They’re reclaiming Curt Schilling from the Red Sox and putting him on their Wall o’Fame. Bloody sock and bankrupted game developer not included.

  20. This wouldn’t be so bad if I had any faith whatsoever that Gameday or MLB.tv would actually come up live when the game actually starts. But as it is, I’m nearly certain that they’ll be frozen and have to be refreshed manually, and I’ll miss the first half-inning.

  21. So the Phillies are putting Schilling on their wall of fame for winning World Series championships with Arizona and Boston?

  22. Too many bad 1993 NLCS flashbacks coming back tonight. At least we had the dignity to have Sid Bream bobblehead day against someone other than the Pirates.

  23. Ump missed the first pitch of the game to Heyward, and he missed that one to Upton.

  24. @44

    It’s on now on MLB.tv.

    @45

    Apparently so. Reflected glory is better than no glory at all.

  25. @46 – Yeah, of all things, we held it against the Blue Jays… How stupid was that?

  26. It’s nice that the Braves erected a statue to Chipper Jones. I just wish they didn’t have to park it actually AT third base.

  27. Hope this isn’t the start of turning back into pumpkins with RISP.

  28. Kris is taking some healthy cuts here. He certainly LOOKS like a good hitting pitcher.

    Alright, another quick inning and let the top of the order give it a shot again.

  29. Hearing Joe talk about Chris Johnson being a good hitter and what makes him a good hitter…was painful.

  30. @67

    Medlen looks like one, but Teheran actually appears to be one. Which reminds me of how he clearly works at the non-pitching aspects of the sport, unlike a traded big redhead who shall remain nameless, previously held that rotation spot and showed no evidence of any kind of baseball instinct or fundamentals whatsoever. The comparison makes my heart warm and my legs tingly every time I watch Teheran work.

  31. The swings certainly looked better the second time through the order. Lets see what the 3rd time looks like.

    EDIT: @69 – Let him not be named and let us never remember him.

  32. Well I bet Delmon FELT cool doing that slide, thing, out there. But I don’t know what purpose it was intended to serve.

  33. That’s what I’m talking about.

    3 for 4 so far, third time through the order.

    EDIT: 4 for 5.

  34. Extraordinary. The heart says, “Forever be a Brave.” The mind says, “Add the DH.”

    EDIT: CJ! Love it, love it, love it.

  35. Didn’t Terdo hit like 52 doubles one year in the minors?

    He’s already got 4 in the bigs.

    EDIT: Also, has anyone mentioned he looks like Jack Parkman yet?

  36. Also, and I will not stop beating this drum: if both sides can agree on terms that are remotely reasonable, we must re-sign Brian McCann.

  37. Meds deciding he wants to make this interesting with his nibbling and inability to throw a non-hittable strike. His speciality is the hanging curveball

  38. They post immediately. You just get five minutes to edit them before they calcify into stone like trolls exposed to sunlight. #nexthobbitmoviebetterbebetterthanthefirstone

  39. @89, Next Hobbit movie will have Evangeline Lilly as an elf, thereby insulating it from being as bad as the first one, at least as far as I’m concerned.

  40. @91

    No worries.

    @90

    You’re obviously a bigger Lost fan than I. But she’s all right with me. I just want less bloat and more awesome. (Totally specific, right? I know Peter Jackson is gonna get right on that.)

    EDIT: Which of course explains why I just ordered the Extended Edition. #patheticLOTRfan

  41. I was gonna post something pre-game but was delayed by the site difficulties. I figure I’ll put it out here now since I’m not gonna be online much longer. What I was gonna post was the crazy similarities between McCann and Gattis coming into today’s games. Here are their numbers, McCann on the left, Gattis on the right:

    G: 65 68
    PA: 256 245
    AB: 222 224
    R: 28 31
    H: 63 56
    2B: 10 12
    HR: 15 15
    RBI: 42 43
    BB: 29 15
    SO: 39 53
    BA: .284 .250
    OBP: .371 .302
    SLG: .532 .504
    OPS: .903 .807
    GDP: 5 6
    HBP: 3 3

    Very similar numbers, although B-Mac’s 7 more hits and, more significantly, his 14 more walks, allow for an almost .100 point edge in OPS.

  42. I’m really glad I found Alex’s Twitter feed or I wouldn’t have known about the move. Alex, I sent you an email before I found it. Sam, I sent a FB message to you (at least I think it’s you), but it’s in your “other” box. Is it staying here permanently, or will we be back on .com again?

  43. Somehow it’s much less endearing when their old fogey acts like a redass than when our old fogey used to do it.

  44. Sam: I definitely sent it to you. The message isn’t in your normal inbox. It’s in your “other” box for people who aren’t your FB friends.

  45. @95

    Yeah, Brian doesn’t argue like that often, so when he does, it would behoove the ump to listen and maybe rethink his zone a little.

    It reminds me of that great old joke about the rookie pitcher who was facing Rogers Hornsby for the first time and threw him what the pitcher thought were four pitches on the black. The ump called them balls. As Hornsby took his base, the rook yelled to the umpire, “Those were strikes!”

    The ump replied, “Son, when you throw a strike, Mr. Hornsby will let you know.”

    :-)

  46. It isn’t just this ump, though. It’s all umpires. For lefthanded batters, the strike zone expands in to the righthanded batter’s box. It’s becoming ridiculous.

    Remember a couple years back when MLB sent a directive out to start calling high strikes? They might want to consider some direction, helping the umps find that outside corner to lefties, because it’s really out of hand.

  47. You are totally right, DG. I didn’t even know I had an “other” inbox on FB. Techie dork fail!

  48. @102 – 7 k’s in 3 perfect innings? I guess that’s what they mean when they say “shortening the game.”

  49. We’re getting to the point in the race where, when I look at the scoreboard and see that the Nationals are winning, I’m thinking “Oh good! That’s got to be so frustrating for them!”

  50. Disconcur, JJ. I mean, yeah, I see your point, but I want to do to the Nationals what Ed Norton’s character did to that guy that was trying to steal his car in American History X.

  51. Yeah. I didn’t mean to sound like I want them to win. It’s like, a maniacal laugh when they’re losing, and a condescending smirk when they’re winning.

  52. I mean, it does have to be a little deflating when you are 11.5 games out and, while trying to win the game you’re playing, you see the first-place team has already won. I lost count of the times that happened last year with the roles reversed, other than the Nats didn’t have a lead quite that big.

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