“Ozzie 3, Phils 1”

MLB.com actually stole my “clever” headline this morning. Ozzie did all the damage against the Phightin’s last night. Homered to open scoring. Came in on a throwing error by Carlos Santana for the second run. Scampered home on a Ronald RBI single to close it out for the final 3-0.

Amanda’s Man was on point for 5 innings, throwing harder than I’ve ever seen him throw. Consistently hitting 95-96 on his fastball, with placement. Backed it up with that stupidly gorgeous 12-6 curve he drops in when he gets in trouble, which was working for him all night. One of the reasons I enjoy watching McCarthy pitch is that curve. In the age of My Fastball Is Fasterbally Than Yours, I love a good sweeping curve.

Aside from Ozzie, the Braves were shut down by Phils pitching all night. Vince Velasquez mowed down the rest of the order with some degree of fierceness, racking up 9 strikeouts in his half game start. But he was basically playing the Foltynewicz Shuffle all night, throwing tons of pitches, working very hard for every out, wriggling out of jams all night.

Philly’s pen came in and did a nice job as well, Albies excluded. They ended up with 14 K’s on the night, all told. But four of those were Dansby, who seems to be in a funk again, two were Ryan Flaherty, who has come back to earth from his hot start, and three were the opposing pitcher McCarthy.

All told, this was a good get-away win for the Bravos, against a team that is pretty good and should be a nice intradivision rival for years to come.

33 thoughts on ““Ozzie 3, Phils 1””

  1. Amanda’s Husband does have a nice curve. Man, he is a goofy, lanky dude. He’s shaping up to be a little less than league average for a price that you’d hope for him to be around league average. And he’s stayed healthy 10 starts in. He doesn’t typically make 10 starts in a row, so watch him pull something carrying his luggage, and you guys can totally blame me.

  2. What one aspect of the Braves has changed the most from last year(s)?

    Power, i.e. ISO, and generally hitting. Sure, the pitching is also improved but someday you all will figure out that power and hitting is what wins games. Winning with pitching and defense is a razor thin margin and IMO is not sustainable long term. Power wins games.

    The Braves are ***9th*** in the NL in fielding.

    In a year where the ball has been restored to a non- bouncy core, the Braves are 7th in pitching in the NL.

    Swanson is just a guy.

  3. @3 You do realize that even the good teams don’t finish towards the top of the league in all three of pitching, hitting, and defense, right? And especially not if you add speed as another category. You do also realize that the Braves would be actively trying to improve RF defense, and while less important, employed Jose Bautista to play 3B for 12 games?

    You just have a really myopic way of looking at this.

  4. Pitching is defense. It’s almost useless to try to split them out. Not 100% useless, but almost useless.

    I think Chief is totally right on the mark on that front.

    The power surge is mostly Albies. It’s hard to fathom that he might be the best player in the game right now. I would not have predicted anything close to his start for 2018. Nobody would have. Just gonna enjoy it.

  5. Look, Ozzie Albies has an OBP of .329, he has a SB rate of just 75%, and if he weren’t second in the league in homers and leading the league in runs scored you’d admit that he’s barely one of the ten best players in baseball. Best in the game? Please. There are at least five other guys who are clearly ahead of him.

  6. The pitching and defense side of the equation is very important to the success so far this year.

    Braves were 24th in MLB for pitching WAR last year. They are 8th in MLB for pitching WAR this year. They’ve gone from 5.07 RA/game to 3.89 RA/game. On offense, the change is 4.52 R/G to 5.23 R/G.

  7. We’ve won a game where we scored 1 run. We’ve won a game where we allowed 9 runs. Nice to see a bit of sequencing luck going our way so far.

  8. Balls that Brandon Phillips waived at as they rolled into the OF, at 2B and 3B, are turned into outs this year. Balls that Matt Adams kicked around the LF corner for extra bases last year, are outs this year. Keeping runners off of the bases. Limiting the number of pitches the starters have to throw. Defensive improvement drives pitching improvement.

  9. @10 The Braves’ win-loss record actually tracks quite well with the number of wins you’d expect given our runs scored vs. runs allowed… 29 – 18 actual vs. 30 – 17 (projected) per Baseball-Reference.

  10. Freeman has 2.3 fWAR, Albies has 2.2, Markakis has 1.8, and Inciarte has 1.0.

  11. I’m looking for a good start from Gohara tonight. I like our chances. Kind of worried about Tehran throwing batting practice to the Red Sox tho.

  12. Milwaukee’s win this afternoon gives them the best winning percentage in the NL. If the Braves win tonight they will seize it back.

  13. I disagree that McCarthy is shaping up to be a little less than league average. Given the small sample size, I think the jury is still out on him. He’s had some pretty good games and I think 2 horrible games that have skewed his numbers. My guess is that he’ll end up giving us about the value we’re hoping for if he doesn’t get hurt. But as I said, I still don’t know what we have related to expectations at this point.

  14. It certainly seems to be the case in the early going that Atlanta has fully adopted the “get me 5 and a half innings” theory of starting pitching. As I said, McCarthy was throwing harder than I’ve ever seen last night, as has been Matt Wisler of late. It’s super small sample and way too early, but it feels like the Braves are trying to copy the Houston/Charlie Morton “throw as hard as you can until you’re gassed” theory.

  15. Shades of last night with that wasted opportunity. At least Swanson hit it hard.

  16. Can’t believe we had 2nd/3rd and no outs and couldn’t score again. Couldn’t Gohara try to bunt? Dansby? Sheesh!!

  17. Umps clearly missed the call when Hoskins went out of the baseline to avoid the tag. I don’t remember a season when it seems so many bad calls went against the Braves. I think those things even out in the long run but so far it’s been very one sided.

  18. Two walks, two infield singles and they score and we can’t score with 2nd/3rd and no outs.

  19. I’m disappointed that Arrieta pitches for our rival because he had been my favorite non-Braves active pitcher. Hard to root for him now.

    Acuna was hitting .204/.290/.352 in his last 14 games coming into today, so getting him a breather too might be a good idea. At least putting him down in the order. Suzuki during the same time period is hitting .179/.258/.321. Kakes is at .333/.367/.421 with only 1 HR and 2 2B so he really hasn’t been a clean-up hitter. Bats and Camargo have also struggled during that time. We have more than a few guys struggling at the same time.

  20. Flowers is swinging the bat well and I think should be getting most of the PAs as the catcher right now.

  21. I’ve been saying it’s time for Inciarte back at leadoff and Acuna at 6th. Inciarte’s steals will be better at 1st, Albies’ HRS better at 2nd, and Acuna’s hard hits better at 6th. I suppose you could put Acuna at 4th; that would split up the lefties but he’d have to stop striking out so much.

    @29 With Kakes’ batting line, I’d take him anywhere in the lineup. Won’t complain about the one guy that’s still hitting.

    The biggest difference is the bottom of the lineup. Dansby/Flaherty were wreaking havoc until Dansby got injured and Flaherty benched. Camargo is coming around and, eventually, so will Dansby. I still liked the experiment of pitcher hitting 8th. A lot of our rallies are getting killed by the 9th hitter these days.

    I was also in favor of Inciarte’s steal attempt even though it cost us our best chance at a run. Something needed to be done to get Arrieta off balance or change the tempo or something. It took an absolutely perfect 90mph strike to get him out.

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