Well, not much to say about this one. Clayton Kershaw, while he wasn’t 1963 Sandy Koufax, got about the same result – a BUNCH of 0s, and the Braves were shut out for the second straight night.
Anibal Sanchez struggled through 4 2/3 innings, giving up all three runs, including a two run first inning shot to Manny Machado, and a Yasmani Grandal dinger to open the 5th. After a two out hit by Justin Turner Sanchez gave way to Max Fried, who retired Max Muncy to end the inning. Touki Toussaint pitched the 6th and 7th, walked two and striking out two but giving up no hits, and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a seven pitch 8th to complete the pen’s evening.
So, after two games, we’re in an 18 inning scoreless streak, the Dodgers are using our starters as Extended BP, and we’re about to face their hottest pitcher since the All-Star Break in a win or go home game. Sounds like we’ve got ’em just where we want ’em.
It doesn’t feel like a Collins moment. How about something light and fun and positive.
A sweep looks inevitable. Let’s at least score a run.
If AA/Snitker have any cojones whatsoever between the two of them, they’ll start the game with our long relievers and only use Gausman when they have to.
It’s less that Newcomb/Fried/Touki are or aren’t better than Gausman and more than the Dodgers won’t be ready for it.
*more that the Dodgers won’t be ready for it
Or maybe not:
“They’re a very good hitting team,” Kershaw said. “They’ve done a lot of damage early in counts, especially a lot of those guys who like to swing the bat. I feel like a lot of teams tend to swing early against me.”
In other words, Kershaw planned to counter the game plan set by the Braves, who exited Friday’s pregame meeting intent on hunting fastballs early in the count. This plan worked for Acuna, who hit the first pitch off the left-center-field wall. But the Dodgers lefty exited the third inning having thrown only 39 pitches — and he got more efficient after that.
Six of Atlanta’s first 10 plate appearances consisted of either one or two pitches. On the night, Kershaw needed 85 pitches over eight frames.
“Our game plan in our meeting today told us to come out swinging early,” Freeman said. “The analytics from our meeting told us he throws a lot of heaters. Ronald jumped on that. Johan [Camargo] did that and then all the sudden those analytics went out the door because he started throwing sliders and all that and that’s why he’s Clayton Kershaw.”
Let’s take 2 at home and see what happens.
Rough two games. I said down the stretch I would be happy with winning the division no matter what happened in the LDS…Iâ€™m sticking with that attitude.
End of the day, I will be…but you can’t expect me to just merrily watch live as we get destroyed in a playoff game.
Once we get to the end of this, though, winning the NL East was a great accomplishment for this team and Snitker should stay and all of that.
@3 Larger philosophical question maybe, is it lost in the whole ‘analytic revolution’ that the game will always be one of adjustments? The strategy of swinging early on Kershaw made perfect sense, until he started throwing that first pitch out of the zone. You gotta adjust to that on the fly. Analytics help to identify strengths and tendencies, but this isn’t a game of blackjack. If the opponent knows what you are going to do, doesn’t that turn your strength into a weakness?
Unless your opponent is Clayton Kershaw and can throw that yakker for a strike, then maybe you are just done.
Ryu and Kershaw both threw a lot of first-pitch breaking balls. Ryu put the ball wherever he wanted to and he flat-out owned us. Kershaw made plenty of mistakes, we just didn’t hit them. I’ve never seen so much weak contact.
I feel like we’d have lost the last 2 games playing against pretty much any team in the league. You give the Dodgers some credit, sure, but it’s more about how our bats have gone missing for the last couple weeks.
@7, Yep. It’s one thing to be beaten by a better team, but to me, it’s another thing to be outsmarted like we were. Kershaw more or less baited us into sticking to the same plan the whole game because he let Acuna find some success before changing it all up.
I put that on AA because he was in their organization and he must know what their level of preparation is.
At this point, the best thing from a strategy perspective is to do things the Dodgers can’t predict. There’s not much to lose right now.
It does not help our pummeled psyches if Camargo, well aware of his total ineptness in this series, showboats his sulky swagger, opens his mouth even wider to dribble his chaw, and generally adopts the appearance and louche manner of a Fellini street urchin. Grow up. Respect who you play for.
@2 I agree with you here, in specific, that we should throw nothing but lefties at them in game 3. Or maybe better, start Sobotka or Touki so they use the same lineup as the days before and then substitute lefties beginning in the 2nd until Roberts puts in his righty hitters and burns his lefties. Then go back to Gausman. Our lefties have been uniformly successful. Use that to gain an edge.
That and shuffle the lineup. Ozzie or Ender or Culby bats second. Camargo 5th. Do something to score runs – be aggressive. There should be no singles without an accompanying steal attempt.
Newk starts Game 3, Braves announce…
@12 That is a good turn of events.
More than ever, I’m regretting they didn’t take an extra lefty like Biddle rather than a 3rd catcher.
I still cannot get over the spectacle in Boston: Craig Kimbrel pitching in the 8th inning of a tight game? I’m pretty sure that one is against the unwritten rules.
The post game interviews zeroed in on the 3 and 0 pitch in the bottom of the first. Snit said at that count he reckoned a walk was certain so he didn’t need to make a call. Sanchez said he was still trying to strike him out. Smoltz said yes he was but he didn’t get it in enough.
General confusion on what became the hit that dominated the rest of the game.
Put Ozzie back at leadoff, bat AcuÃ±a second, and move Camargo to the #5 spot.
Regardless of what, these couple games show that we have to improve our offense in this offseason.
@16 I can live with that, but Ozzie hasn’t shown much ability to get on base. Since Buehler is a righty, I might think about going to Ender to lead off.
@17 Yep, for sure.
I don’t think a couple of games show us anything. Such is the nature of small sample sizes.
@20. How about these couple games and the entire season if you have to pick on things?
@18. Snit said he will bat Ender second.
@20 Yeah, of course, I figured Snit would not move Acuna out of leadoff. Hopefully, Acuna and then three lefties will work against Buehler.
@19 I think the sample size is improved somewhat by including the regular season Dodger games which pretty much showed us the same thing these two are. It also tells us Newk is our best bet for Game 3.
Guys are pulling homeruns on pitches right at the low outside corners. Unbelievable. How could Glavine survive this generation?
Good end to great season of recaps, Seat Painter. Thank you and other recappers.
Also, thanks, Rob, for continuing to make Braves Journal best read on the web.
@23 Agree, coop.
Go Newk and go Braves!
@22 The 90s were the Steroid Era. Glavine did not always succeed. He had some years with poor ERAs. What Glavine did was use all that muscle-bound power against hitters. When he was successful, he also expanded the strike zone. He’d pitch low and outside until he got a strike call and then would go another inch lower or more outside until it was called a ball. His strike zone looked more like an apple than a rectangle. Hitters would eventually swing after they got enough called strikes. When it worked, it worked. When it didn’t, Glavine struggled (and he would walk quite a few). But for most of the 90s he had excellent run support. That is what the Braves are building now but haven’t completed. We are 30 annual HRs short of the promised land.
With all the launch angle changes, low balls are easily golfed for HRs. Where hitters struggle is up at the top of the zone where they hit a lot of pop-ups.
On Sanchez’s pitch to Machado, it was in his worst hitting area. A fraction of an inch more outside and he would have hit it off the end of the bat for a pop-out or walked.
Glavine might not have even made it out of the minors these days with WHIPs around 1.3, K/9 = 6, and BB/9 over 3. His ERAs were almost always lower than his FIPs which was probably due to excellent defense as his goal was to get weak contact on the ground.
If you want a Glavine these days, you might consider signing Corbin in the offseason. Although this last year was probably a career year for Corbin and he is 3 years older than Glavine when he had his career year. Elsewise, Kolby Allard might be the most Glavine-like pitcher around.
@25 Actually, expanding the strike zone was his whole game. And the defense behind him was a mixed bag. Blauser/McGriff/Chipper were hardly top flight defenders.
The advent of MLB utilizing QuesTec to evaluate umpiring balls/strikes did not help finesse pitchers like Glavine. That seems like the biggest factor to me. You just don’t see that kind of pitching anymore.
The Dodgers played a simulated game at STP yesterday
Only fair, as the Braves played 2 at Dodger Stadium.
between you and me
will there be four?
if not, the closing of a worthy door.
@29 Well played, Rusty.