Braves 3, Mets 2, Soroka W, Syndegaard L

What a great day to be at the ballpark.  Elation, terror, and a win.

The top of the order stands for the anthem.

The initial MLB pitch of Mike Soroka (a strike)

Soroka showed great calm.  He was a lot calmer than I was, I think.  He pitched 6 innings, scattering 6 hits, half of them to Yoenis Cespedes, including his only run, a giant HR.  NO walks.  After 6 he had only thrown 80 pitches, but apparently that was enough for the braintrust.  I will say that the the Mets were making much more solid contact in the 6th, and that might have factored in.

The Braves, despite 15 hits in the game did all of their scoring in the first four batters.  Four straight hits, three runs, but that was all they’d get.  A combination of baserunning blunders (Inciarte) a close play at the plate (Suzuki) replays of dubious quality (Albies) and the Madden-like batting order which had Soroka bat eighth had him come up three times with two outs and runners in scoring position.  He nearly grounded out for the cycle, lacking only the groundout to the catcher.  In any case, there was to be no Braves scoring after 7:20 PM.

But it was enough.  Barely.  Carle pitched two pitches in the 7th and walked off the field, injured.  Winkler came on, completed Carle’s walk, but then bore down to get out of trouble…. sort of a reverse-Grybo.

Minter, pitching to the heart of the order, gave up a leadoff single and wriggled out of trouble.

Then the bottom of the 9th.  One of the things harder to see on television than live is just how late the swings were against Arodys.  He was dealing.  But when it comes in at 99, it comes out hot if you hit it.  Frazier hit a line drive trapped by Neck.  Gonzalez lifted a fly ball that Albies and Dansby gave up on but that Ender couldn’t reach.  Albies could have had it, I think, but he peeled off early.  I note he made a great play earlier, but this was not a great play.  A wild pitch put the tying runs in scoring position, but a groundout (which plated the Mets’ second run) and a flyball hauled down on the track by a staggering Acuna off the zombie bat of Jose Reyes brought events to a conclusion.

There were a lot of Braves fans at the game, and unlike the old Shea days, none of them seemed to be attacked by Mets thugs — the atmosphere has become much more civilized.  Several people complimented my retro Murphy-era cap and, like the end times when cats lie down with dogs, everyone had an understanding of fandom and showed tolerance.  I’m close to violating a sacred rule here, but let’s just say that if everybody got along like Braves and Mets fans did tonight, there’s hope for the Republic.

But just to show things haven’t completely changed, my wife’s entry into the car in the parking lot was delayed by a guy peeing between my car and the one next to it.  At least he didn’t pee on my car.  You can take the piss out of the Mets, but they’re still going to leave it in the parking lot.

Keep it going folks… I’m off to San Diego.

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.

100 thoughts on “Braves 3, Mets 2, Soroka W, Syndegaard L”

  1. The most important stat is the zero walk. I am impressed.

    For once i am really starting to feel that the organisation is turning the corner. With over $60m coming off the book in the coming off season, it is time to get excited about our team. Hope we can sign the right players.

  2. Good morning from Munich. So, woke up at 2 am my time and watched the game. Needless to say that after the 9th, I was wide awake unable ti get back to bed. Will be a long day today but well worth it. M-M-M-M-M Mike Soroka!

    Before that, I don’t know if anyone caught (or even noticed?) the Champions League semi-final match of Madrid against Munich? Blazon, you probably did. What a game.

  3. another Liverpool fan here – pretty excited about tonight of course. as for last night, i hate Bayern Munich, therefore i’m happy they’re out. but my bandmate is a Bayern fan, so in a way it would have been fun if Liverpool and Munich had met in the final.
    btw it’s been quite a while since one could feel that good about both Liverpool and the Braves!

  4. It is indeed good time but I always believe Liverpool will turn around quicker with Kloop and as the team is owned by John Henry who has deeper pocket than Liberty Media.

    I really think the hiring of AA helps a lot in improving the organization as a whole. While John C did some bad things I think the true cancer was John Hart.

  5. well, well…the soccer boys were out yesterday and showing their colors…the other semi final is this afternoon at 2.45 on Fox..yesterday’s was a classic. My team let their manager stay on 5 years too long and is paying the price.

    JonathanF…you were there on a special evening as evidenced by a recap coming across fresh and clear, thank you. Red eye and all. timo too, in Munich. We are a worldly lot and keep odd hours.

    Who remembers Smoltz’s debut at Shea with Leo Mazzone given special dispensation to travel up with him from Richmond ?

    Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is an iconoclast, makes his own rules. This week he said something fascinating, when we think about our own golden boys. If you reach a point where i deem you indispensable to this team i will come to you and require you to sign an extended new contract. The center forward, a Brazilian, just did, 5 years. Their best player, only now in the FIRST year of a five year one, he has come to and said, I want an extension, NOW! Discuss.

    Apologies for length. You’ll never walk alone!

  6. Who would have thought we would have multiple players leading the league in hitting stats?
    Freeman, Albies, Ender.
    This team is really exciting right now. And if Soroka is legit. Wow.

  7. Mike Soroca
    we might well describe his face as poker
    unlined by age he will soldier on
    that Canadian accent though, may it be long gone.


    A Calgary hurler we know
    would train in the sun and the snow
    his arm like brave Hector
    attacked every vector
    a walk was forbidden – or go!

  8. Among all prospects, I am the most surprised by Albies. Never thought he will be anything more than an average middle infielder with some speed.

    Now let’s hope Dansby can keep up.

  9. Driving to work I was thinking about how I’m getting that same feeling I got when I started reading BravesJournal many years ago – this Braves team is actually good! I find myself wanting to read about the Bravos first thing in the morning with a cup of joe. For all of the blunders made by the org and the fiasco with the new stadium, we open the curtains and the sun is actually shining outside.

    That sinking fastball from Soroka is such a awesome pitch to have in the arsenal.

  10. Mike Soroka’s control is far ahead of our other young pitchers. He painted the corners all night. And I didn’t realize he had a 94 mph fastball with nasty movement. If another one or two young pitchers turn out like him this team is going to be very strong on both offense and defense for a long time. It’s happening!

  11. You can read reports all year long about how a kid has “an easy motion that still touches 95,” but you really have to see it in action to get the full effect. Aside from not wasting in pitches by walking batters, Soroka wasted zero effort. When Newk or Folty throw 95-98, you can see them trying. Soroka really did make it look effortless.

    As for the pop fly that fell in the ninth, it was Albies’ ball to play, no question. But with the shift on, he saw Dansby moving out to it in his peripheral and immediately peeled back into the infield to cover the bag at 2B. Then Dansby pulled up, everyone went stupid, and the ball fell.

    Literally four players could have caught that ball if they had simply taken control and went through it. Everyone pulled up and deferred, and it fell. Vizzy did a good job to wiggle out of that inning with the win for the team.

  12. For the record, Soroka made three real mistake pitches all night. All three were floating change/slurves that started too high and slid back into the middle of the zone. All three were to Yo Cespesdes, who didn’t miss any of them. The last one, he didn’t miss very, very hard.

  13. There’s nothing tentative about Soroka’s approach on the mound. He remains calm and in control. He has a plan, and he works fairly quickly. In a word, he’s focused.

  14. If the Braves win tonight, it will be the first time they’ve led their division this late (May) since 2014.

  15. Soroka is perhaps the most advanced pitching prospect in the game right now. So many of these young pitchers, ours at least, are throwing a lot of pitches looking to get strikes and battling to strike hitters out. This guy makes pitches to put hitters away, and strike outs happen along the way too.

    “You realize hitters like that are going to hit mistakes, and I think I made three mistakes. Right after he hit them, you realize that it was a mis-executed pitch; there is nothing wrong with the game plan. You have to keep going forward.” — Soroka, on allowing three hits to Cespedes

    I like that he doesn’t second guess the pitch selection at all. Make good pitches. That’s all that matters. This kid will quickly be our ace if all he does is worry about making good pitches.

  16. Soroka seems to be the anti Folty with his sense of calm and the control of his emotions. Both have great stuff, but Soroka seems to have a better understanding of how handle the tough moments, although it is early

  17. @19 That quote seems like something an in his prime Greg Maddux would say.

    I like it.

  18. On Carle,

    When I saw it live, I thought he was flexing his forearm muscle and thought “oh no, flexor tendon.”

    I have actually had carpal tunnel issues and some other weird nerve things and have gotten a pretty good layman’s education in such things. All of this assumes truth on what was said last night.

    Numbness CAN be a sign of nerve impingement collateral to either UCL damage or flexor tendon damage. However, that would be numbness that should not vary by which fingers are and aren’t affected. If carpal tunnel is the problem, the middle finger and the closest sides of the two adjoining fingers show problems (like numbness). The nerve splits just above the wrist and a separate nerve goes around the outside of the wrist bones to the two outsides of the hand. So, a nerve impingement along that path along the “inside side” of the wrist is possible.

    Numbness can also be associated with blood flow problems. With pitchers, those are more common in the shoulder region (and are what sometimes have led to thoracic outlet surgery).

    Main thing is that I think it is low probability that it is UCL or flexor tendon or the nerve sheath where it rolls around the elbow.

    I am thinking what Carle might need is a cortisone shot in the wrist, let it rest for 2 days, and go on. Probably they will do a galvanic nerve study today (they shoot electricity down the arm to sensors on the fingers to see where the charge is impeded in speed or intensity, thus signifying a problem.)

  19. Was perusing Fangraphs just now, and saw that Ronald Acuna Jr, has accumulated 0.6 WAR in 6 games.

    Hmmm, is there a 16.2 WAR season in him?

  20. Talking to some old Mets fans this morning and they’re bemoaning the horror of facing “that lineup for years” and “the coming 15 year division streak.” I want to tell them that they’re overreacting, but then I remember they’re Mets fans….

  21. With a win today, the Braves can both have their longest winning streak of the year (4 games) and move into 1st place.

  22. Soroka’s sinking fastball is such a weapon. How is it even possible to throw a 95 mph sinker? I dunno, but he does it.

  23. Someone named Bruce Zimmermann struck-out 11 guys in Rome last night.

    He has 33 Ks in 26.2 innings this year to only two (!) walks.

    I think we have a bunch of pitching.

  24. I like the mind game Snit has played with Freddie essentially by putting Freddie in the clean-up spot 3 out of his 4 plate appearances while still keeping Freddie #3 on the lineup card. After the first time through, obviously it’s Ender->Ozzie->Acuna->Freddie, which is a pretty dynamite 1-4. I wonder how many teams have a better RC+ from their 1-4 and 6-8 hitters in their lineups.

  25. Power ranking of Braves Journal commenter flip-flops on the subject of the team’s fortunes, March 2018 to May 2018.

  26. I want more takes on AA’s difference-making leadership qualities.

    Does anyone think Coppy watched yesterday’s game?

  27. @32 THAT is one of the best windows into the game of analytics I’ve read so far.

  28. @38 LOL

    Y’know, I thought of Coppy yesterday too. I can’t imagine wanting to watch MLB after having been banned from it.

    Oh, and he may have hit on selecting Soroka, but it’s becoming incredibly evident since his departure (and AA’s arrival) the difference (or I should say gap) in GM quality between the two.

  29. One big tell that the Braves were about to be on the upswing was that someone like AA took the job in the first place.

  30. The two wunderkinds at the top of the order are courtesy of Frank Wren’s international scouting team. If you feel like giving out kudos then send some that way.

    AA hasn’t really done much at all except act professional and promote the heralded prospects. The latter I give him some credit for. I’ve been begging for “rushing”, and AA is delivering.

  31. @43 – “Frank Wren’s international scouting team” — Rolando Petit, the scout that originally found Acuna, has been with the braves since the early 90s, well before FW. We don’t have to assign credit (or blame) to the GM for everything.

  32. @44 Yes agreed, I’m just laughing along with Adam about the huge difference AA is making. The guy at the top is the target for everything I guess.

    Coppy was in the org under Wren when a lot of these key guys were signed. He probably deserves props for one or two things that happened before he was GM as well.

  33. My barber says AA came in for a cut and the Tigers called about the following

    Atl gets: Joe Jiménez, Daniel Stumpf and Michael Fulmer

    Det gets: Pache, Allard, Julio, Dustin Peterson and Culberson

  34. AA does deserve credit for picking up Flaherty, Carle, Tucker and Sanchez off the trash heap.

  35. I give him credit for jettisoning Kemp, and McCarthy has been a pleasant surprise. He gets some credit for sure.

  36. He gets credit for simply not doing anything too crazy or rash. And making Snitker better.

  37. All he really did to “make Snitker better” seems to boil down to “not being an asocial, on-the-spectrum dick-nozzle.” Actually treating your “baseball men” as if they’re adults with functioning brains rather than idiots you’re doomed to share oxygen with goes a long way.

  38. I think you all are underselling the organizational changes that AA has brought about in a very short amount of time. Unless, of course, he doesn’t get credit for that. In which case, who does?

  39. @47

    Smitty. i was wondering what was happening to him. 8 player trade, he hasn’t lost his touch.

  40. Carlos Perez claimed by the Rangers…was trying to think of the last time that occurred (we had a designated guy claimed).

  41. I would imagine Akeel Morris ended up in a similar fashion where the Angels claimed him and then the Braves worked out a more-than-nothing return for him.

  42. @51 I do think a better term for what you’re referring to is “restraint”, and I think he deserves more credit than that.

    Good things AA has done:

    -Successfully shedding Kemp’s contract even though it may have meant punting on the top end goal of this year (hindsight 20/20, it may seem)
    -Good use of a very small amount of money. ~$5M has gone to Bourjos, Flaherty, Carle, Freeman, Perez, and Moylan, and that has gone very well so far.
    -He’s been surprisingly aggressive and accurate on how to handle the young players, both in terms of when to call them up and how to use them. Really, Fried is the only player who hasn’t impressed us in the role he’s been put in. Even Wisler has been good for what he’s been.

    And it’s only May.

  43. It could be that we’re just getting to the better prospects. It could be that Albies/Acuna/Soroka having better debuts than Ruiz/Wisler/Blair/Fried is more about the player talent than the GM calling them up.

  44. Fun and Games on MLB today, midday. Mad Dog, in his usual staccato rant, announced up front the Braves would be his number one story for the day and to demonstrate that he would be talking to Chip Cary…Wow, i thought, what a mix.

    They’re playing great, said he, still working up his promo. In fact last night they beat Thor with their new rookie pitcher making his debut.

    Pause. Now there aren’t many/any pauses when the Dog is in full flow so clearly something was wrong, he couldn’t remember the guy’s name. Sciroco? he quavered, yes, quavered. Siroka someone muttered from behind the camera Yes, he said, don’t miss this interview with Chip Cary…Scirocco was it? What the heck.

    Anti climatic ending. Waiting for the great event to show up I came to realize it would be unbearable, couldn’t handle it, Chip and Mad Dog. Switch off.

  45. He was pulled after 4 very dominating innings. That’s not a good sign.

  46. Mets broadcast is guessing (no word from dugout yet) that it might be a sore back.)

  47. I’m just going to say it: I don’t like the 7:35 starts in Atlanta.

  48. “To score multiple runs in an inning, you first need to score one.” -Joe Simpson

  49. @78 I don’t know, but I’m not opposed to Johan finding a way onto the field at any position possible.

  50. What a performance by Newk!! 8Ks, one walk, 2 hits. Newk was great tonight.

  51. After 2Ks, I just hope they want to give Dansby a break. I’ll bet he’s running on fumes.

  52. That’s unexpected!! I thought for sure they would PH for Newk.

    On the other hand…… who needs a PH?

  53. Great to see Newk go back out for the 7th–and it’s a whole lot better to do so up 3-0

  54. Why exactly can’t Newcomb push 120 pitches? He’s on an extra day’s rest and cruising.

    I’m all for keeping guys healthy, but 10 years ago there’s no way he doesn’t have the opportunity for the shutout, and it’s not like pitcher injuries have been going down with the increased emphasis on pitch counts.

  55. This is amazing. I’m so proud of this team. Walking into New York and beating the heck out of the first place team.

  56. Swansbo out with an injured wrist. No word if it was injured trying to imitate Johan’s HR swing.

  57. I have nicknamed Mike Soroka “The Strike Whisperer.” He shows up and magically erh’body throw strikes.

  58. It’s gonna be nice to know the Braves can win even when the wunderkind don’t hit. This team’s performance tonight is one of the best we’ve seen as a team.

  59. @95
    With his resemblance to Ansel Elgort and that sinker, I’ve been calling him Baby Diver.

  60. IMO, the Braves improvement this year has been somewhat attributed to increased power and hitting the ball harder. It’s not a coincidence that the Braves ranking 7th in the NL in HRs as opposed to at or near the bottom recently is helping.

    Obviously right now the pitching is much improved but you’re never going to win a thing finishing 15th in the NL and 28th in HRs.

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