Braves 5, IWOTM 3

So, Home Opener, and the first Friday Night game to recap. Let’s do a Running Diary.

7:05 – I tune in to Braves Live late, after watching the live news reporting on the Spieth-caused grass fires in the Augusta region.

7:07 – Jerome Jurenivich pulls a metaphor ligament stretching to compare the looming rain delay to a Mike Hargrove at bat.

7:09 – Jonny Gomes is glad to “have the Braves across my chest, the A on my hat, and the giant fork sticking out of my back.” I only made up one of those.

7:12 – Gomes is interviewed by Paul Byrd about his at bat ritual. He mentions giving his helmet several good tugs before hitting. I thought this was supposed to be a family show.

7:16 – After that Gomes interview, I don’t think I want to try any sort of Blimpie’s sandwich with ‘boomboom’ sauce.

7:19 – Kristina Fitzpatrick interviews Paul Byrd, and mentions there ‘might’ be a rain delay. Meanwhile Lake Lanier is swallowing short left field.

7:24 – Jerome threatens us with Chip and Joe after the commercial break. Quick, get Fox Sports on the line and tell them I will agree with their terms, anything!

7:30 – Apparently, I was too late.

7:31 – “Here comes Bream…he is…Safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!” Man, it just got really dusty here at Casa Seat Painter.

7:32 – Hey! It’s ‘The Jeter’ from ‘Rissa’s Magnum Opus!

7:33 – Joe isn’t sure if you can start better than 3-0 after your first three games.

7:38 – Chip and Joe interview John Hart. The interview is marred by Hart’s constant nervous glances over his shoulder to see if a deranged Craig Kimbrel fan is stalking him.

7:40 – Hart: “We’re not a power club. We’re not a speed club…to win we have to bunt…” Joe just started tugging hard on Jonny Gomes’ helmet.

7:41 – Hart gives Fredi a ‘tip of the hat’ for the Braves spring training play, setting a record for the earliest ‘Vote of Confidence’ in MLB history.

7:42 – Joe has decided that in fact you can’t start better than 3-0. Hey it took him just nine minutes.

7:48 – A grounds crew sighting! And Sid Bream! Now we’re getting somewhere.

7:50 – Chip compares AJP, Gomes, and KJ to Pendleton, Bream, and Belliard for the ’91 Braves. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 World Series champion Atlanta Braves! Remember, you heard it here first.

7:52 – Some corporate lackey is interviewed by Jenn Hildreth about WFF. He teases us with a Very Special First Pitch to come. And hints that Jason Grilli might have a cool new entrance video. Meanwhile, frustrated prom dates all over the greater Atlanta metropolitan area are nodding their heads knowingly.

7:56 – Jenn Hildreth has alligator teeth. Eek!

8:03 – And the tarp is off!

8:10 – Chip informs us that tonight’s Special Guest Announcer will be Chipper. I hope we get “Drunk Twitter Chipper.” (TM)

8:12 – Chip just called Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium “beautiful.” If you like sterile concrete bowls then he could be right.

8:13 – Dale Murphy looks like he could still bat third for the Braves.

8:14 – It’s time for the Parade of Legends. Hammering Hank, Knucksie, Murph, Bream, The Crime Dog, Bobby, and Chipper are here. Where the heck are Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz or Darrell Evans???

8:29 – The First Pitch is tossed out by John Schuerholz, who surprisingly tosses Fredi a baseball and not Frank Wren’s head. Bobby stands in with a bat and whiffs on a hanging change-up. Up in the booth, Joe is telling Chip that Bobby needs to try to go to the opposite way more.

8:32 – LET’S GIVE A WARM ATLANTA WELCOME TO…the new york mets. Even the announcer is dissing the mutts.

8:40 – After announcing everyone employed by Liberty Media…err…the Braves, we finally get to our lineup.

8:54 – Dorn hauls in David Wright’s wicked liner. Jake’s threat must be working.

8:58 – MAYBIN!

9:03 – Gomes singles in Markakis, who had reached on an error and moved to second base on a Freeman single. Maybe Maybin didn’t kill the rally?

9:12 – Jenn Hildreth interviews Bill Bartholomy. If I were him, I’d be nervous Ms. Alligator Teeth was getting ready to take a chomp out of my arm.

9:16 – Simmons doubles to lead off the second. Stults drops a sac bunt. Somewhere, Jonny Gomes helmet is getting a workout. Simmons nailed at the plate in a collision with d’Arnaud. No runs scored. Rally officially dead.

9:24 – Fox shows us The Jeter again, since Simmons and d’Arnaud ran into each other last half inning. Can’t ever see that play too many times.

9:25 – THE JETER 2:ELECTRIC BUGALOO! d’Arnaud is getting ready to call in the GBI to arrest Simba for blatant thievery.

9:37 – Pressure on the defense! Bethancourt draws the second error from Wilmer Flores, the non-Simmons schlub the Mets ran out at short, allowing Gomes to score. Meanwhile Eric Stults asks the umpires if his team is allowed to score this many runs. Braves 3, Mets 0.

9:46 – David Wright, 2 run Rally Killer.

9:47 – One pitch later, we’re tied,courtesy of John Mayberry, Jr.

9:53 – Nice scoop by Freeman on a DP. But Stults isn’t fooling anyone this inning. After two more hits, Flores finally makes the last out. Not a good night for Wilmer.

10:03 – Chipper in da house! Stults lets Jonathon Niese single to lead off the 5th.

10:11 – Chipper immediately takes the suspense out of the AFLAC Trivia Question. “I got the first hit in Turner Field.”

10:14 – Chipper admits he has a man crush on David Wright. Get in line Hoss, you ain’t the only one.

10:19 – Simba lines out to leave the bases loaded. He’s proving he’s no Chris Johnson.

10:20 – No, I don’t know what the hell I meant by that either.

10:22 – Cody Martin in to start the 6th for the Braves, continuing a three game string of 5 inning starts. Martin has got a sort-of Teheran hesitation in his wind-up, which he uses to K Murphy and Lagares.

10:35 – So….bored…No one except Wright and Dorn are hitting.

10:51 – Good work by Brandon Cunniff and Luis Avilan in the 7th. As Chips’ grand-dad would say about this time of the game, “Let’s get some runs! Hic!”

10:56 – For the third time in a row, Markakis and Freeman lead off an inning and go down meekly. The first two times, the Braves rallied for a run, and then left the bases loaded. Can we threaten again with two outs???

11:00 – Nope.

11:04 – Filthy pitch from Jim Johnson to K Granderson. Somewhere Iron Eyes Cody is starting to cry.

11:06 – Wright – grrr. Now we know how Mets fans felt about Chipper.

11:08 – Iron Eyes Cody is starting to feel really verklempt after that Johnson pitch to Mayberry.

11:09 – Iron Eyes Cody: Dehydrated.

11:13 – Dorn bloops *his* third hit of the evening to left center off Ruben Montero. Lagares dives for it, and misplays the single into a double when he knocks it away. Jace Peterson in to pinch run.

11:15 – Gomes helmet is finally getting a rest after that bad AB by Bethancourt.

11:19 – That was weird. Simba grounds to Wright, but rather than take the out at first, Wright tries to nab Peterson at third, but can’t make the tag. Simmons alertly takes second when the Mets don’t cover. NOT a good defensive showing by the New York Nine so far.

11:21 – Callaspo intentionally walked to load them up. Setting up Maybin to be the hero, or the goat, with one out. Time for some ABC baseball!

11:25 – It’s goat. Up to Gosselin.

11:28 – After falling behind 1 and 2, Gosselin battles back to a full count.

11:28 – Fouled off! And my nails are bitten away. And not by Jenn Hildreth.

11:29 – YES! 2 run single to center! Gosselin doing his best Folk Hero impression! I actually have to give Maybin some credit. He fought Montero for 10 pitches or so before striking out. And then Gosselin battles through eight pitches, Montero was up to his 37th pitch of the inning when Gosselin singled.

11:33 – Joe Simpson just said the same thing about Maybin. In other news, tomorrow morning I will be checking into Small Ball Rehab Center.

11:36 – “The Grilli is fired up!” Thanks Chip.

11:38 – Although the blue propane flame for Jason Grilli’s entrance video is kind of clever.

11:42 – Daniel Murphy works a ten pitch walk off Grilli. I have to believe that one of those foul balls would have been a swing and a miss against the Kraken. Lagares then barely beats out a double play. One down, two to go.

11:47 – d’Arnaud hits it where Simba isn’t. Unfortunately that is behind home plate, and Bethancourt hauls it in.

11:48 – Lucas Duda vs. Jason Grilli. Does it get any better than this? Don’t answer that.

11:51 – Full count to Duda….

11:52 – Full count to Duda….

11:52:30 – Full count to Duda….

11:53 – 3-2 slider freezes Duda! Braves Win! Braves Win!

Win, win, win. Ho-hum, just another day at the ball yard. And I may recover by the time I have to recap next Friday’s game.

121 thoughts on “Braves 5, IWOTM 3”

  1. This is better than any Bill Simmons running diary I’ve read. David Wright would have been a fabulous Brave.

    This team is really fun to root for, whatever that means.

    Gattis with a .000/.000/.000 in 15 at-bats with 9 Ks.

    Justin doing Justin things with a .353 ISO

    Melvin doing BJ things by collecting checks and being absolutely useless

  2. OK, desert, you’re third in the David Wright man Crush line behind me and Chipper.

  3. I’ll be happy to play second fiddle to you and whoever your friend Chipper is.

    Is it just me, or have the Mets of the last few years (Wagner, Wright, Dickey, now Harvey) actually been a little likeable? In the lovable losers sort of way. They even had Jeffy for a bit, who is entertaining and pretty easy to root for when you don’t experience the soul crushing depression of watching him take 0-2 counts everyday.

    Fun fact: Daniel Murphy was the only 2013 Met to have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.

  4. Hard to believe this rag-tag bunch is 4-0 with Teheran & Wood coming up, but… hey, let’s get it while the getting’s good, especially while we’re playing the Mets.

  5. The coolest thing about Andrelton’s play was that he was able to get the ball to Freddie on the fly…

  6. Painter…great fun, thanks..

    Maybin…simple, powerful swing but do we really have to endure him drooling tobacco joice down his chin all season, in HD? Yuk, there should be a rule…

    Gosselin…thought he looked overmatched throughout that at bat…wrong.

    Linares…he catches everything, doesn’t he?

    Freddie…back on his heels at third for that past ball?

    David Wright…love him too…beautiful play to watch at 3rd, ring around the roses…

    Peterson…play with Andrelton and the slightest hitch in your technique is DP

  7. Dish TV and the Braves…

    for various reasons to do with an expired credit card and their incessant pitching to renew i have yet to resign with MLB tv…so far i don’t have to due to a curious, benign(?) change on Dish which i don’t understand…have been able to watch every game so far on Dish…

    Today’s game is on the ‘free’ MLB channel, 152…but that is the typical once in a while sop they indulge you with…more impoortantly it’s on Dish Ch. 907…that’s more important because on Sunday 907 is carrying that game too and so, apparently, on- MLB is not…

    the sea change here for those of us who do not live in the South appears to be that for years before we could only watch the FoxSports broadcasts if they were for home games of teams geographically in your region – in my case the Reds and Indians via Fox Sports Ohio…now it’s carte blanche seemingly- any game, anywhere that the regional Fox regional sports channels have on you can watch regardless of where you are…

    something for nothing? will it last? i have not increased my subscription which with European soccer and Robert Durst is already high enough but no higher than it was last year when Braves game were a rarity and totally subject to where you lived…

    anyone, not in the South, had the same or different experience this time around with Dish?

  8. Last night I had planned to watch the beginning of the game before I (being from Europe) had to go to bed. When I found out about the rain delay, I decided instead to watch the highlights of ‘Rissas Jadeite Jewel series once again, which I enjoyed tremendously.
    When I went to sleep I thought about a way to constantly update that list. Maybe we could chose four or five plays after every season and then measure them up with the older ones and thus update the Top 10 every year or something like that.
    Then I woke up this morning and found out that there’s already a perfect candidate for this year :)

  9. Well done, Seat Painter.

    Evidently David Wright cannot carry the Braves current third base duo’s jock straps. Perhaps we can exchange our pair for him, because statistics never lie.

    Our pair of third basemen, that is.

  10. Fun fact: Dillon Gee flosses with Braves’ bat splinters. Nothing like a wholesale roster change to reverse that trend.

  11. 4-0 for first time since 1994. Love beating the Mets.

    It may be obvious to all the experts in here, but swapping out Dorn for Jace on 2B was critical. No way Dorn avoids tag.

    Loved seeing all of the old Braves and the montages. My wife was crying. Heck, I almost needed a Kleenex!

    When you’ve lived through the ups and downs as a Braves fan for 30 years, you remember each and every one of many of those moments. It’s like looking back through family photo albums.

    Even if the Braves go 0-158 from here, I sure do love the first month of every season when we’re all believers. Except ’88 or ’77, maybe.

  12. Just watch the replay on alteration…if he can consistent make that play, there is essentially no hole between SS and 3B…wait, did I really just say that? What a play…

  13. All the 3-0 teams won yesterday (5 of them), giving us five 4-0 teams. Could this be the first season in MLB history to have 5 (five) undefeated teams? Well, there is a little matter of some of these teams having to play one another, so while anything’s possible, this particular thing is very improbable. Here’s to our Bad News Braves being the last team standing (not in a musical chairs sense, but in a boxing sense)

  14. @9 I don’t have Dish and don’t know for sure, but I think I read somewhere that MLB Extra Innings are available for free for the first two weeks of the season, and then they’ll charge you. It would be cool if what you’re getting lasts longer, though!

    @10 I’m game! I will never mind repeatedly watching Andrelton highlights.

  15. To quote another guy I talk baseball with, the first reaction to that Simmons play is “he can’t really make that play, right?” The second reaction is “half of the 3B in baseball cut that off before it gets to Simmons at all.” One added benefit of fielding defensively competent 2B-men this year is that Andrelton doesn’t have to “cheat” both directions, and can concentrate more on covering the bad defender to his right.

  16. Improvement from Simmons bat, platoon third, no more black holes at CF and 2B. If that holds, the hitting will be better. Upton, Hey, and Gattis were very good, but the at-bats from 2b, ss and cf were probably farther from the mean.

    Run prevention may take a hit, but I can’t see this team being that bad. I could see them surprising people, national “analysts” tend to focus on the biggest names.

  17. McDowell Magic™

    And here are Roger and Keith Hernandez guest starring in an episode of Seinfeld:

  18. @20. I said it when it happened, but the front office ponying up the dough to keep McDowell in Atlanta and out of Philadelphia was a hugely underrated move.

  19. The Braves’ bullpen are the only group of relievers in the majors not to have given up any runs at this point in the 2015 season.

  20. I’m not convinced run prevention will take a hit overall. We lose a ton of defense in RF, but we gain a bit in CF (Melvin took his offensive problems with him to the field, and Cameron Maybin is actually quite good out there; EYJ is mediocre.) We gain a ton at 2B, and some at 3B due to the platoon. I’m not sure we lose anything from Justin to KJ/Gomes in LF, especially if the trend of EYJ/Maybin/Markakis in the late innings with a lead holds.

    I’m not sure we gain as much at 2B as we lose in RF, but it’s not a straight bloodbath by any means.

    EDIT: and we gain defense behind the dish

  21. @8 To answer your question, no, I don’t think Freddie was back on his heels for the passed ball. It squibbled off the glove between the catcher’s legs and didn’t go far. That’s hard for a runner to see because he’s shielded by both the batter and the catcher. By the time he knows where it is it’s too late to break.

  22. Brother Christian with the RBI double. And another one from Andrelton (he can hit, too!)

  23. Doubles down the line are something I’ve missed in recent years. Let’s get Julio in on the act.

  24. By the way, 2nd half of Atlanta Hustle v. Raleigh Flyers on espn3 right now, just in case anyone else is trying to double-fist sports tonight.

  25. I’m no expert, but is this what a ‘total rebuild’ is supposed to look like?

  26. This is fun because we have no expectation. Otherwise we would be picking on every single details. Nevertheless, THIS IS UNSUSTAINABLE. I will keep saying this while it lasts!

  27. 46- Yes, and what it so rarely does.

    Announcer discussion about what a shame it is that Julio isn’t showing off his pickoff move. That’s fine with me.

  28. I am not a Fredi basher, but this was not managing at its best. Protect the kid, Braves.

  29. Fredi aside, this all strangely traces back to the decision to throw Duda a fastball strike on an 0-2 count. It was a horrible pitch call. Why did they do it? Bc had just thrown him 2 off speed pitches and U CANT THROW 3 IN A ROW…can u?

    Yes, you can. Or you waste the fastball high. What do u think he is looking for after u go off speed twice in a row?

  30. I love all the things Jace Peterson can do. I’d like to get his bat going, though. Seems to be down 0-2 before he gets in the box.

  31. Gilmartin. lol. lolz. Dominating our lefties despite reverse split. Baseball is nothing if not ironic.

  32. What was the point of taking the switch hitter Callaspo out of the game if CJ is just going to ph for KJ?

  33. Mets announcers telling us that due to new rule, Mejia would be unavailable for the playoffs even after serving his suspension. I’m thinking: working on your playoff roster already?

  34. There was a ‘WTF’ look Simmons gave CJ you could see in the slow motion replay, just as the ball passed Simmons.

  35. @70 Right because

    1) people who think Fredi sucks are totally deluded.

    2) when a baseball team wins 4 or 5 games in a row, it means the manager is effin Awesome!

  36. Why would you put your current and future ace at risk? He tweaked his leg. Pull him and let your reliever take as long as he likes to get ready. The manager and pitching coach have got to protect Liberty’s assets better than that; but …

    Braves win! Again!

  37. Bottle this, fellas.

    The last week in NYC has taken on a “Mets-now-own-this-town” theme, especially with the club in The Bronx looking so feeble. If the Yanks aren’t so good, that must mean it’s time to print playoff tickets, right?

    Still, it’s nice to see that The Ted can still be a house of horrors for them, even with this bunch. A win tomorrow should shut them up for a few more days.

  38. Has looked pretty tough the past two nights. He was especially nasty last night, striking out the side. Tonight, while not as dominant, was more encouraging, since he did the job two games in a row.

  39. Ben Revere just threw a lazer to the plate to nail the would be winning run. I don’t know what world this is.

  40. Would love to see David Wright in our lineup .. dont know his contract or anything .. but Id say after this year .. you can expect either Chris Johnson traded or released and upgrade done at 3B and LF either by free agency or thru trades from the surplus pitching we have now …. you can count on Simmons- ss, Freeman- 1B, Markakis – RF, Bethencourt – c , Peterson or Parraza – 2B …. that leaves CF Mayben, E Young) ( maybe Parraza ) and LF and 3B whick I think we will try to upgrade with at least 1 power hitter to go with these contact hitters. others opinion ????

  41. Like Stu, I am a Rio Ruiz dynasty league owner. Hopefully he can be the guy at 3B, but it remains to be seen if he can stick at the position. The bat will likely play.

  42. At this rate, we should have about a 64 game lead by the all-star break.

    Even with Fredi’s patented September collapses. the Braves might be able to hold onto such a lead.

  43. @96, 101 – Still, best to give him some wiggle room. If we could continue to go undefeated, and somehow cause the Nats to lose MORE than 80% of their games, that would be great.

  44. Is Beltran a Hall of Famer today?

    Wonder what Fredi’s Sunday lineup is going to look like this year. Could he bench both Freeman and Simmons?

  45. Lineup construction aside, I like giving Jace the vote of confidence until he breaks out of it at the plate. When he’s hitting his weight, you can move him down without it messing with him.

  46. Notes from the Ted: great to see a large crowd, even by opening weekend standards, with a much better Braves fan/Mets fan ratio than some games over the last few seasons. Great to see more people staying the full 9, especially when we had a lead of more than a run halfway through the eighth. Great to see and hear a crowd as enthusiastic as last night’s; frankly, a better crowd than any of the games I went to last season (glutton for punishment, hit >40 last season). Hadn’t planned on going to more than a few this season, but when the surf’s up, might as well ride the wave as long as it lasts. If there’s +18k in actual attendence tomorrow – a Monday night game, with school in session, against the Fish – that will be quite a feat.

    one other thing: I’ve followed and enjoyed this blog since the beginning of the season, and really appreciate the work that the moderators and posters put into making this such a great site for a Braves fan. I also appreciate the commenters, but have a question.

    Based on the comments, it appears the unanimous consensus regarding Gonzales is that he’s a poor manager. I disagree. I don’t have time right now to explain the reasons I disagree, and honestly, not sure I have the emotional maturity necessary to withstand the ensuing pile-on even if I did). I’m curious to know whether the anti-Gonzales sentiment is as universal among the commenters on this site as it appears. Is there a silent majority, or even a silent minority, of folks who don’t think Gonzales is a blundering idiot?

  47. @108 – there are a lot of people who truly hate Fredi as a manager. Others of us do not. I don’t think he’s particularly good as a manager; his in game decisions are routine and mediocre, but they’re not horrific by any chance. But they are generally conservative and traditional and he does things like bunting and he isn’t a high end stats savvy guy like The God Of Managing Joe Maddon, so some quarters gives him more grief than he rightly deserves.

  48. It would be great to have a strategic genius managing, and as soon as you can name one who doesn’t already have a job and isn’t dead, I’ll agree that the Braves should go after him. Until then, well… one generic manager is as good as another.

    My issue with Fredi would be more that his teams have quit on him down the stretch twice in four seasons, which is more damning to me than bunting too much or poor lineup construction.

  49. Notice the division standings:

    New York

    This seems to be nearly the exact opposite of what everyone predicted for the NL East in 2015. It won’t hold; enjoy it while it lasts.

  50. @108 – I can’t stand Fredi, but he’s probably a little better than I give him credit for. He earned his “Frediot” reputation early in his managing career with the Braves. His in-game decision making was horrendous, just dreadful. But, he has gotten better–maybe not a lot, but better for sure. Obviously, his IQ hasn’t improved, but that isn’t the largest part of being a good manager. I think players like him and trust him, though this has been disputed (remember fuming Kimbrel). All told, he’s probably not the worst manager in baseball, but I still think he’s below average.

  51. Tanto, @112, I take that criticism seriously. Which is why I will be watching closely this year to see if his team quits on him again. Because the Fredi-defense on that point, as generally presented by Bobby Cox this winter, is that Fredi was never given a team of his preferred players, was told that he had to play players he didn’t want to play (notably Melvin Upton) and that his basic lack of decision making power (because Fran Wren was micromanaging the locker room all the way down to lineup orders) undermined his status as manager. We’ll see how much of that is spin and how much of it is true this season.

  52. @110 – that’s good to hear. It also about sums up my opinion, and then I probably would tend to think he is a shade better as an in-game manager, although still has room for improvement in that area. Given the players and personnel Fredi’s had to work with, and the sometimes conflicting loyalties inherent in his job (and his desire to keep his job), I think he’s done a pretty darn good job setting the thermostat.

  53. If you don’t think a field manager has to be an ace tactician, then in my mind, all that’s left is his role as a leader of men. And this guy has presided over two historic collapses in a period of, what, 4 years? You can’t exactly say he keeps the team at an even keel, or that he gets the most out of his charges.

    As an aside, John Hart is supposed to address the media regarding Mike Minor.

  54. How you feel about Fredi largely depends upon if you are comparing him to the Platonic ideal of a baseball manager (who looks a lot like Bobby Cox with better in-game tactician skills) or if you are comparing him to the other current baseball managers. The more time you spend watching the other guys, the more you’ll appreciate Fredi.

  55. @117 – I guess I left out getting to work on time, and fitting in to a uniform. By those measures, I can’t offer any verifiable criticism of Fredi’s job performance

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