Rocky Balboa 7, Apollo Creed 4

Yo, Adrian! One night after being figuratively punched in the gut with the news of Freddie Freeman and his injured wrist, the Braves climbed off the canvas against their own personal Apollo Creed, the Natspos, and delivered a come from behind victory worthy of any Rocky movie.

The Bravos jumped out to an early lead, thanks to a 2 run Dansby Swanson homer in the bottom of the second, but some shoddy defense gave it all back and one more in the third, as Swanson and Jace Peterson committed errors, Dansby the mental kind, and Jace the kind that shows up in the box score, and the Braves fell behind 3-2.

Matt Kemp tied it right back up in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot, his 7th on the year, but R.A. Dickey gave up a solo shot to Daniel Murphy in the 4th – 4-3 Nats. But, Kurt Suzuki tied it up in the 5th, doubling in Nick Markakis. Spoiler Alert – More from those two later.

Both Dickey and Gio Gonzalez, who started for DC, threw a lot of pitches. Dickey 117 in 5 1/3 and Gio 116 in 5 2/3. This put the game in the hands of the bullpens. BIG advantage Braves. Jason Motte closed out the 6th getting both batters he faced. Jose Ramirez may have thrown the best inning of ball for the Braves all year getting Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Murphy out on 12 nasty pitches. Arodys Vizcaino was almost as impressive in a 1-2-3 8th.

In the bottom of the frame, the Braves delivered the knockout punch. With one out Brandon Phillips walked and stole second. Then Nick Markakis – you did remember that spoiler, right? – delivered the go ahead single after battling Enny Romero for 8 pitches. After Kemp lined out, Kurt Suzuki deposited one into the leftfield seats, and just like that it was 7-4 Braves.

However, unlike the Rocky movies, there was no final round drama, as Jim Johnson closed out the game with yet another 1-2-3 inning. Final tally for the Braves pen, 3 2/3 innings, no hits, no walks, 2 strikeouts (by Arodys). For the Nats – 2 1/3, 3 hits, 3 runs, all earned, and 4 walks.

All in all, it was a great game to watch, and the Braves showed some heart to step up and win this one. They may revert back to the club pug they were before, but for tonight, not only did they hang in with the champ, they won the fight.

37 thoughts on “Rocky Balboa 7, Apollo Creed 4”

  1. Thank you, sir, for the excellent recap. The game was enjoyable,and I believe Camargo may be a player. He handled his chores at third well.

  2. Great recap, Seat Painter. The most satisfying game of the year. One of the great things about baseball is that you play every day. So after the most disappointing day and one of the worst games of the year, you get the chance to bounce right back. It’s a long and probably frustrating season ahead, but this team is a lot more fun to watch than last year.

  3. From the last thread. Yes, defense matters at every position, a little. Everything matters…some.

    My argument is that MOST MLB baseball players by way of their self selection through T-Ball, HS, minors, etc. are able to play good enough defense that if they are good at the things that matter A LOT, then their defense doesn’t really matter.

    And I believe strongly that whatever weights are associated with WAR that include defense are way too high.

  4. That was a surprising win for the Braves, especially following on the heels of that miserable 9-0 spanking at the hands of Le Bleu Jays the day before. After about 1/4 of the season, this team is looking like the low-70s win team it projected to be from the start, which is fine I guess – though I am getting a little antsy to see some progress from the new crop of Braves. Thus far of the guys who’ve made it to the bigs, Folty has shown a ton of promise (with uneven execution) and the same could be said of Dansby. Wisler and Blair have been atrocious, obviously, but I am guessing one of them will eventually make it at least as a bullpen arm.

    PS – Camargo… best Braves infield arm since Furcal?

    PPS – Hopefully there are some old-school GMs who love what Nick Markakis is doing this season (Clutch RBIs! Veteran Presents!) and are interested in taking him off the Braves’ hands this summer in exchange for a live arm / flawed but promising prospect. I realize the likely replacements (Dustin Peterson, mainly) would be a step down from Cakes but I’m ready to see the Braves try to put their future team together rather than trying to grind out wins from veterans on short contracts.

    PPPS – Chief, it sounds like what you’re saying – in a nutshell – is that WAR (as a stand-in for overall player value) overweights defensive value. In other words, JASON HEYWARD IS OVERRATED! I get that, a bit, but I think you take that sentiment beyond where it merits going.

  5. @4.

    I just look at Kevin Kiermaier as a test case.

    In 2016 he had a BB REF WAR of 5.5. His slash line was .246/.331/.410 and he hit 12 HR and 37 RBI.

    Freddie Freeman’s 2016 WAR was 6.3.

  6. Save that game against the Jays, this team has played well of late.

    If we had any starting pitching, we could be decent

  7. @5

    Kiermaier plays CF, which is a thinner position for bats, and almost the opposite is true for 1B.

    I wouldn’t use WAR to decide MVP, etc. I would, however, consider it if I need a CF and I have a guy (not named Freeman) who could be a 2 month spark plug for someone’s playoff run.

  8. @4 PPS

    Right. The silver lining of nearly simultaneous injuries to Adonis and Freddie is that we get a more extended look at future pieces like Ruiz, Camargo, and Jace. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while I don’t think Ruiz is quite ready, I’m glad we’re seeing him play. This is a heck of a lot better than the days of Jace as full-time 2B and Daniel Castro at super utility.

    Baseball’s a funny game, and while NO ONE can replace Freddie Freeman, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team rally behind his absence.

    Would also like to see Markakis traded. There are three potential intervals to trade him: ’17 deadline, ’18 offseason, and ’18 deadline. ’18 deadline doesn’t give us quite as much of a benefit, especially since we could be contending by then, and a team may be more apt to trade for Markakis at the deadline than the offseason, so I think the ’17 deadline makes the most sense. It’s a shame because, like Smitty, I like him a lot and never considered his signing a bad thing at all. His composure, consistency, and professionalism has probably had a big impact on the clubhouse. If you didn’t just have so many spots where you had young players without power, I’d say he’d be a Ben Zobrist, Mike Napoli presence on a young ballclub, but I just don’t think he can stay.

    We’re 17-22, and if guys could pitch, we’d have something. Kevin Seitzer deserves a lot of credit for where we are. Quality ABs from top to bottom.

  9. @5 WAR (whether you’re talking the B-Ref or Fangraphs version) takes into account a player’s offensive contribution (adjusted for home park), defensive contribution, and base running contribution. The various sites that calculate WAR sometimes have significant disagreements as to how valuable a player’s defense is in a given year.

    Kevin Kiermaier combines truly excellent defense with good base running and a mediocre bat (plus the Tampa stadium suppresses offense a bit too) so he can compile a big WAR with an underwhelming offensive slash line. In that respect, KK rates out a lot like Andrelton Simmons. Everyone agrees that Simmons’ defense is fantastic and more than compensates for his hitting; the question is, how valuable is he overall? Obviously that’s the question WAR tries to answer (as to all players) and all the smart baseball people agree there is no definitive WAR measurement (at least not anything available to the public). That said, it’s intellectually lazy to say “I don’t trust defensive WAR and thus I’m going to ignore it” and leave it at that.

    FWIW, Fangraphs thinks in 2016 Kiermaier was worth 3.8 WAR and Freddie 6.1 WAR. That sounds more reasonable – with the caveat that I didn’t watch KK play so I don’t really know.

    PS – If you really want to pick a fight re: WAR, here’s a good question to encapsulate your position – was Jason Heyward really 1 – 1.5 WAR better than Matt Kemp last season?

  10. Without being bothered by technicalities such as doing research or anything such as that, I would say that Matt Kemps are certainly scarcer that Jason Heywards (2016 edition.) The minor leagues are undoubtedly full of glove-first center fielders that any team could stick in right field and match Heyward’s 2016 offensive output. The Braves could have done this with Mallex Smith.

    The fact that nobody does this suggests to me that either the calcuation is flawed or that no one believes it.

  11. I see your point, but I think Mallex is a bit of a stretch (and I love me some Mallex!). Heyward has exceptional range, a powerful and accurate throwing arm, and makes almost no misjudgments in route or handling the ball. Not sure what DRS says, but I’d imagine he saves a run a week over the average, and over the course of the season, that adds up to a lot. I doubt Mallex provides that. With that said, for the cost, everyone but the Cubs clearly agreed that Heyward wasn’t worth that deal.

    Defense is really important. Ask the 5 young SPs in our 2018 rotation how important defense is. Defense saves runs, defense saves pitches thrown, defense saves morale and flow of the game. Defense is extremely important, and you notice when it’s not there (like in the 5th inning of last night’s game).

  12. EOF to DL. Luke Jackson called up.

    We are slowly but surely becoming a much younger roster. Whereas in the beginning of the season it was only 7, I count now 12 players that are young-ish and are potentially a part of the future plans if they perform. They’re listening to you, krussell.

  13. I’m with Rob Cope and krussell on the youth movement. The more we see the kids who are potentially part of the future, the more interesting this season is. I hate the Freeman injury, but a silver lining may be that the FO gives up on the slim chance to chase the second wild card spot or even a .500 record. Young players usually need time to adjust and go through growing pains (and perhaps to determine whether they will make it at all). Better this season than next.
    And who knows, a team with Ruiz, Albies, and Peterson in the lineup, Sims and Newcomb in the rotation, and Minter and Morris in the pen may do OK. In any event, less pressure this year than next.
    And as a fan I’m hoping to see Allard, Soroka, and Acuna make the big club next year as 20 year olds.

  14. It would show where the FO thinks we are in the rebuild by how we handle 1B, IMO. If you’re hoping to use Loney to flip him for a prospect, then I think it shows they think we’re far away. If you give Ruiz/Camargo/Adonis/Peterson the bulk of the PAs between 3B and 1B, it shows that they are expecting to compete next year. Don’t get me wrong; both propositions are not going to change the franchise, but it does tell me which way they’re leaning.

  15. I’m sure a lot of people were expecting Ruiz to homer today against Scherzer. About the same number that are expecting Colon to pitch a complete game shutout today.

  16. Didn’t I just say that the team will be more interesting if Ruiz plays regularly?

  17. I seriously doubt Loney was acquired with the prospects of flipping him for prospects. I’m pretty sure we acquired him because we apparently have zero depth at first base in the organization. Jace Peterson is not a firstbaseman, Rio Ruiz isn’t either and might flop on his face, and the book says we need *somebody* with major league experience to have around as part of our range of options. If Ryan Howard could still play baseball he’d be at first but he can’t so it’s Loney…for now, at least when he gets back into baseball playing shape. He’s been sitting around waiting for somebody to call and his phone finally rang. That’s the bottom of the barrel as far as prospect-flipping potential.

  18. If Adams can give us a league average bat with a little pop in a first baseman-sized body, that works for me. I like this this trade

  19. I guess it’s okay but now Matt Adams is blocking James Loney’s progress through the system.

    In other baseball news: Luis (not Luiz) Robert (not Roberts) has been signed by the White Sox.

  20. Matt Adams, Slippery Rock alum. Be prepared for Chip to tell you that 800000 times.

  21. When Juan Yepez is all growed up, he might be Matt Adams. Great trade. And Adams is cost controlled through some good years. He’s the Eric Hinske of a good run.

  22. Yepez is a lottery ticket, unlikely to be a big leaguer. He’s exactly the kind of player Rob would’ve complained about us trading Bud Norris for.

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