Braves 4, Giants 1 – Folty Pitches His Second Complete Game

Hey, a complete game! Sure, it was against a team with the worst team OPS in the last month — .544! — but I’m sure Mike Foltynewicz will see it as a step forward, and the more confidence the better. Great for Folty, and great for the bullpen. They are now fully rested for one last game against the Giants with an off-day after that.

Let’s talk about Charlie Culberson. Through the end of April, Culberson was an offensive nothing. In that month, he had 3 hits in 27 ABs — a .111/.226/.148 line — and Ryan Flaherty was the apple of folks’ eyes. And with his career production to that point, you had to have thought that Culberson may not be on the roster come September. But he went 2-5 on May 3rd, and he never looked back. Since then, he has a .300/.340/.535 triple slash, a .875 OPS. He’s also played 7 positions, including pitcher. The only positions he hasn’t played are CF and C. I’m not sure he’ll get behind the plate, but I’d love for him to play CF and add a position. And of course, he’s hit some of the biggest home runs of the year for us. Oh, and he’s pretty much matched Matt Kemp’s value in about 200 less PAs. I think we did well on that trade.

Back to Folty. He hasn’t matched his first half performance overall in the second half, but being able to grind an entire season has been a big step in his development. And in his last 6 starts, he has a 1.71 ERA, pitching at least 6 innings in each, including 7, 8, and 9 inning starts. This is his 4th straight start with at least 5 days rest (first time all season), and he’s heading into a potential postseason run pitching as well as he did in the first half.

If you didn’t know how Ozzie Albies would complete his first full season, meaning you wouldn’t know that he had a .988 OPS at the end of April or he would have 22 HRs on September 12th, and I just told you he had a .779 OPS, plus speed, great defense, and a 3.7 fWAR at this time, would that surprise you? I don’t think it would surprise me. I think we’ve gotten slightly above average offense (106 wRC+) and the speed and defense we expected.

One more against the Giants and then a day off.

91 thoughts on “Braves 4, Giants 1 – Folty Pitches His Second Complete Game”

  1. From last thread, cliff asked if Camargo can’t go Friday, would they call up Riley. Riley would require yet another 40-man spot, and with Culberson deserving of more PAs, I would say I doubt it.

  2. The nice thing about the recent Phillies slide is that we can afford to rest Johan and give him time to rest up without rending our garments.

  3. In 2007 the Mets were up 8 games on the Phillies with 17 to play and lost by a game, so it’s not over. But I’d much rather be where we are than PHI or WAS.

    I’m still more worried about WAS, if every game went their way through Sunday they would only be 3.5 back.

  4. I think the fear and respect for a collapse is healthy, but I think we have enough talent to stave off collapse this time around.

    By the way, in 2011, Derek Lowe took 5 (!!) losses in just the month of September. Scott Linebrink took 2. We were 19th in team ERA, 27th in team OPS.

  5. Fun fact: O’Ventbrel gave up 1 ER in 13.2 postseason IP for us. Both impressive and sad they ended up pitching so few innings. O’Flaherty only had 1 IP. He pitched 5 seasons in his prime for us.

  6. I think none of us would be talking about collapses if September of SEVEN YEARS AGO didn’t happen.

    Did I say that it was SEVEN YEARS AGO? It’s almost like this is a completely different team full of players who had nothing to do with that event.

  7. ATL actually has had one stretch where they went 5-13 over 18 games this year (Jul 3-Jul 28) which is about what it would take for others to have a chance. As others have mentioned if we go 5-12, PHI would need to go 13-5 to beat us or 12-6 to tie and WAS would need to go 14-3 to beat us or 13-4 to tie.

  8. Objects in motion will stay in motion, right. I think it’s a healthy alternative to getting your hopes up. I think this team has no intentions of slowing down though.

    By the way, the site doesn’t list Touki as a scheduled starter with the rotation turning over without him.

  9. agreed. If Riley is infact something special, he has to get the Acuna treatment. The emergence of Camargo has guaranteed that.

    also from the last thread. I’ve got enough history to know that a collapse, however unlikely is possible. However, this team has a different feel to it. Is it the youth? team speed? chemistry? I don’t know, but this team can score runs like lightning. That is a feeling we haven’t had around these parts in a while, maybe ever.

  10. I am not reading history, I don’t care which team we will play, and I am not pessimistic…but the fact that we will
    play 10 games at home scares me. I wish they play the rest of the season on the road. We can beat any team on the road.

  11. We haven’t talked about this much on here, but do you buy the notion that the fans at Braves game contribute to a poor atmosphere? Some people say that even with sellout crowds, the home crowd is borderline listless and the opposing team’s crowd is more lively.

    What say you?

  12. @12

    I’ve been twice this year and it was rocking.

    On collapsing- don’t forget we had a weird 5 day of period due to Sandy. We also had Fredi Gonzalez managing us.

  13. @12

    When it’s a game against the Cubs or the Red Sox, and frat boy d-bags from around the southeast can come to the game and pretend like they care about those two teams, then yes, there’s a lot of people cheering for the other team. Otherwise, that’s silly, and in any case, I doubt it’ll be an issue as we’re going down the stretch next week and hopefully into the playoffs in October.

  14. I think STP will be rocking in the playoffs. When was the last time real fans have loved a Braves team this much?

  15. Also, since we’ve got head-to-head series remaining against Philadelphia and Washington, there’s always a chance.

    But Washington would have to sweep us to have any kind of shot, and even then they’re only halfway there. Meanwhile, we’re quickly approaching Philly having to take like 6 of 7 or even all seven from us to have a shot. It’s not that it can’t happen, but anything close to holding serve in those two series would be enough. If we salvage one from Washington, split with Philly here, and salvage one at Philly, that’s 4-6 in those 10 games, which is pretty crappy, but would almost certainly be enough.

  16. Since August 5, the Phillies have the worst record in the NL: 11-22.

    At this point, I think I’d rather root for the Phillies to beat the Nationals today than the other way around.

  17. I had season tickets for several years of Fulton County stadium and all but the last year of Turner Field. During the run of post season appearances as we got further into the run it seemed to me the fans attending post season games changed. It might have been the increasing cost of post season tickets but it seemed there were more people showing up at post season games because it was the cool thing to do if you had a bunch of disposable income. I recall being in a concession line when the lady in front of me (dressed more in evening formal wear than typical Braves fan attire) asked who Javy Lopez was when something happened involving him. I just had to shake my head. There were many people attending post season games who had not attended a regular season game and really had no idea about the team in general. It made it not nearly as enjoyable going to those post season games. I don’t *think* that will be a problem at Sun Trust this year but ticket prices might influence that somewhat. I really hope we end up with crowds like we had from ’91 to ’95.

  18. Three distinct phenomena led to the dwindling enthusiasm of Braves fans over the run of playoff appearances from ’91 onward.

    First, as Hap noted, MLB ticket prices climbed steadily, year after year. At the same time, real earnings by working and middle class Americans remained stagnant and stuck in the late 1970’s. This led to a more upper-middle to middle class demographic in general over the decades. Still, in 1991 a broke-ass college kid could squeeze into a playoff ticket if he skipped beer for a few weeks. By 1999 playoff tickets for that demographic were only available through the largesse of well to-do parents.

    Second, as the Braves continued to make the playoffs year over year, the newness and excitement of it wore down. This inevitable fact of nature, combined with the building disappointment over only ever winning the one WS banner, undermined both attendance and enthusiasm in the later years of that run.

    Finally, the team got worse. Those 1992-96 squads were *expected* to win the WS. Anything less was failure. By the later half of the decade, we expected to win the NL and compete with the Yankees if possible. By the final years of the early 2000’s, we just wanted to get out of the first round. Combined with the previous two elements, it made for diminishing returns at the gate.

  19. @12 I was really disappointed during the Boston series. I think fans could and should make a bigger impact. It would make a difference, I am certain.

  20. For years, Atlanta has been a city of transients. People move there, spend two years or so establishing themselves in their industry (big Telecom boom), and then move on.

  21. I sometimes feel like Atlanta is the only city to get piled on with this fair-weather fan, road-team-is-home-team, nobody-cares stuff. I’m pretty much over it. If people wanna act like we’re the only town to have Red Sox and Cubs (or Cowboys and Steelers, or choose the most popular bandwagon teams from your sport of choice) fans take over the stadium, they can have at it with their lazy analysis.

  22. If we’re playing Colorado, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Arizona, maybe even LA, then I think we’ll be 80+% Braves fan, and they’ll be fired up.

    Yes, I agree that as the run went along, you had some diminished returns largely aided by the lack of performance. That’s why I think it’s healthy to sell off in a mediocre year — not full on tank, though — just to reset your fanbase’s level of excitement and remind them of the alternative to not making the playoffs every year.

    They could have sold off at the deadline any one of the years between 2006 and 2011, in my opinion. Not sure which year had the highest quality and quantity of impending free agencies, but that would have been the year. We’d have been ahead of the game.

  23. I’m confident STP will indeed be rocking during the playoffs. I was at Turner Field for the last two games against the Giants in 2010 (Bobby’s last year) and the place was as loud as I ever heard it. That team had a lot in common with this team–young talent, lots of come from behind wins, first time in playoffs after a four year absence, and a Folk Hero.

    I was also there for the outfield fly WC game in 2012. I’d say the fans were pretty worked up then.

  24. I feel like of late I have been seeing examples of negativity towards this team, sort of like:

    “Newk was good last night, but the Giants suck, so it doesn’t count”

    “Folty went a complete game, but the Giants Voltron score against righties at home at night with the wind is 7mph is 1-2”

    “The Braves are 12-3 against the Mets and 14-2 against the Marlins and under .500 vs everyone else”

    “The fans at STP aren’t cheering loud enough…”

    Good lord. I’m not sure what else you all want. If you don’t like the fan support, buy a ticket.

    Why are we so quick to diminish this team and it’s performances? Baseball isn’t a game just based on stats. Anyone can win any night. It’s a total team game.

    I am old enough to remember the 1991 team. That was the most exciting team of my life. This one is second, just passing the 1993 team.

    We should be celebrating this team. This is a group of kids who battle back when they are down and shrug off losses faster than some people are shrugging off great performances.

  25. @28

    Yeah, the Mets bring some fans, but I’m confident that almost all of those people are actual Mets fans with New York roots. I don’t think the Mets have a great deal of bandwagon-hopping twits who go around acting like they root for them to look cool, as opposed to the four teams I brought up above.

    Also, the Mets fan attendance at Braves home games is rarely as absurd as the Cubs, Red Sox and Yankees fan attendance. Might partially be because there’s nine of them to attend every year instead of three, but I don’t put it in the same category.

  26. @27

    I couldn’t disagree more. If you have a chance to win, you should go for it. If the fans want to be apathetic, they can stay at home.

    I would rather the team be in contention every year than try and win one out of five years, then try for a top draft pick. That’s how Tampa and Oakland work. I’ll pass on that.

    The Braves have a huge following across the country. There were a ton of Braves fans the other night in Arizona.

  27. @30

    I think that’s mostly annoying people on Twitter.

    Also, since the Super Bowl and College Football National Championship disasters (the latter of which didn’t affect me, but I digress), the Atlanta sports collapse thing has reached such mammoth proportions that a bunch of people are acting like they don’t care cuz they either a) want to be able to say “I told you so”; or b) think that it’ll make the eventual season-ending loss hurt less.

    For the latter group, it’s ironically causing them to now be killjoys who won’t enjoy it as much if a team actually ever does win a championship.

  28. @33, I think that also adds extra pressure to any of our teams that make it to playoffs/finals.

    Sox and Cubs eventually broke through. We will too. Eventually.

  29. I haven’t had any problem with Facebook so far this time.

    I’ll add to make sure you’re on the main feed. There’s a lot of annoying copycats that rebroadcast with added spam and their streams will be slower.

  30. Whoa, Smitty, that’s not what I’m saying at all. Shoot, I wrote a whole series on whether the Braves should have tanked, and I was hardly definitive in my conclusion. I’m saying like in 2016 when the Yanks sold off Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Beltran at the deadline. They didn’t tank. They were just smart to recognize that it wasn’t their year, they had some impending free agents, so they dealt them off, took a slighter higher draft position for one season, and then rebuilt quickly. I think if a team like the Braves were to do that very sporadically, it can accomplish a two-fold goal: wipe away perceived complacency from your fan base and infuse yourself with a quick jolt of talent.

  31. To Smitty’s other points:

    -I think there’s guarded optimism, so I think people aren’t trying to get their hopes up, FWIW.
    -The Giants do, indeed, suck. And tanking has meant that when a team in the second half bottoms out, they really bottom out. We should use this opportunity to destroy these scumbags because Buster was out.
    -I’ve only been to one game at STP this year, and it was great, especially when Matt Wisler both pitched decent and then left the game, then we mounted our huge comeback.
    -I appreciate a slightly more in-depth analysis of stats without going off the deep end to basically smear everything your favorite team is doing. If you’re so in-depth on your stats-ing that you can’t be positive about anything your team is doing, then that says something about who you are, not the stats you’re reading. Agreed with Nick that that’s a lot of Twitterites.

  32. “Worst team in the playoffs” is gonna be the meme, whether it’s true or not. I’d rather just embrace it and use it as motivation. Us-against-the-world underdog role is less pressure than the favorites role.

  33. Anibal is sucking up the place out there. 5 walks. Ugly.

    I’ll be damned. Two GIDPs in four innings to save his skin.

  34. Duvall is such trash, not even worth wisler OR sims

    and acuna’s timing is all off, he’s late on everything; maybe needs a day off.

  35. Wasted opportunity. Acuna has not looked good this game and he’s still singled and walked. He’ll get a day off tomorrow. But either Duvall or Acuna could have put the ball in play enough to score a run. Geez! Dansby could have squeezed again. Anything to score a run.

  36. @52

    Acuna swinging through 3 straight 94 mph fastballs is unlike him, even taking that into account.

    Maybe he really does choke a bit under pressure and that’s why he has admitted to prefer to be leading off.

    edit: and what the hell was that throw, biddle?

  37. our first facebook win!

    happy to see anibal is apparently okay after getting spiked at first base

    Bob- I think I saw it was something with Venters, but whatever it was, it got resolved quickly.

  38. @61 I don’t know but guessing the GB to Jonny wasn’t exactly routine. Must not have been bad, though since Jonny stayed in.

  39. doctor Watson
    says i guess i tied you up in knots, son
    1/2/3, not a very public touch
    you will be the better for it, in the clutch.

    And he will, that needed to happen, it ended up costing us nothing.

    Great game, great win, we are being spoiled!

  40. Roger

    How you can ever call Anibel’s effort today ugly is beyond me. It was his usual consummate effort when lacking his best control. Total class guy.

    6 innings, 1 run.

  41. Boo, go Phillies.

    I honestly think of the Nationals as the bigger threat right now. They win tonight, sweep the Braves, suddenly they’re five back.

    The Phillies are toast.

  42. That’s what happens when the team is winning: expectation is higher and all the details are picked apart despite they may not be a big deal.

  43. @68- I’m flattered?

    I’m not as old as some of you, but have certainly seen the braves fail enough times to usually expect the worst from them.

    That last acuna commentfrom me was obviously sarcasm, by the way.

    But seriously, nothing but love for all you guys, i might have been crankier today from that facebook stream, the image quality and freeing was terrible. That, and I’m currently dealing with a cancer scare (waiting for results), so I’m thinking I won’t be able to see the results of the rebuild (among other things).

  44. Not going to lie. It’s nice seeing a team on pace for 91 wins, still picking 24th, and having the 9th pick even though the farm system boasts a top 5 of (in some order) Soroka, Wright, Riley, Pache, and Touki. Oh, and more than half of our roster is under club control for the next few to several years. Oh, and we’ll have about $50M+ to spend in the offseason should they so choose.

    When they said we have the most organization talent for those couple years, we’re seeing it.

  45. @70 It looks a lot better having won than when it was happening. All those walks and baserunners. He got lucky being bailed out by a couple of DP. Ugly is not always bad if it works out, but it’s still ugly. This was the first time in the Giants series that I felt our chances to lose were better than win. Not only was Anibal winning ugly, but we looked terrible against Holland and blew our best chance to break it open. I am relieved we won but it really looked like the last game of a road trip.

  46. I would swear that last AB in the 9th by Acuna was a “Let’s finish and win this game and go home” kind of AB. I’m not complaining or accusing but I’m sure they want to have last long flight over.

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