Braves 6, Dodgers 5

The Braves hold serve on home-field advantage, turning 4 hits into 6 runs, and surviving 9 walks issued.

The Braves jumped on Walker Buehler in the 2nd, with a walk, a single and error, and an intentional walk leading to their first run of the series after a Sean Newcomb (!) bases loaded walk.  After a dubious 3 – 0 pitch was called strike 1, Ronald Acuna Jr. followed with a grand slam, opening up a 5 – 0 lead.

Newcomb could not complete a shutdown inning however, yielding to Kevin Gausman after 2 and 2/3 innings, with 2 of his 3 walks coming in the 3rd.  Gausman allowed a single to Justin Turner, which Acuna overran, resulting in 1 earned and 1 unearned run charged to Newcomb.  Gausman gave up his own pair of runs in the 5th, on a 2 run homer by Chris Taylor.

Max Fried relieved Gausman in the 5th, surrendering a solo home to Max Muncy, bringing the Dodgers all the way back.  However, Freddie Freeman greeted Alex Wood with a mammoth home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the 6th to close the scoring.  Kurt Suzuki had the 4th hit, for those counting.

Whichever pitcher you were clamoring to see tonight, you were almost undoubtedly wrong.

Touki Toussaint, Chad Sobotka, A.J. Minter, and Arodys Vizcaino closed it out; only Sobotka allowed fewer than 2 baserunners, with a perfect 7th.  To be fair to Vizcaino, after allowing a single and a walk in the 9th, he struck out Muncy, Manny Machado, and Turner, all swinging, while working around a wild pitch that left the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

The Braves will look to even the series on Monday at SunTrust Park, game time 4:30, on FS1.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

173 thoughts on “Braves 6, Dodgers 5”

  1. Blazon, no, not humid at all. Quite nice considering the Tampa area is still in the mid-to-high 90’s.

    The Acuna blast landed a few seats to the left but 20 rows ahead. So I wasn’t particularly close, sadly. Not nearly as close as Jonathan Hyde was to Hinske’s blast in 2010.

  2. Thanks Rusty.

    Playoff is not supposed to be easy to I am very proud of this team. Let’s go get them again tomorrow!

    But please cut down the walks for the sake of our health….

  3. Thank you, Rusty. Beautiful.
    Set my alarm to 2 am and obviously impossible to fall asleep again after that, means am able to start work early and feeling just perfectly fine right now.
    What a game. As Rob mentioned, the crowd was fantastic tonight. I am certain this helped to close it out.
    Go Braves!

  4. Arodys was great last night. When he missed, it wasn’t by much. And Pederson and Turner put together excellent ABs against him. It was a struggle for them because he had such good stuff. And he rallied with ice in his veins. A great postseason pitching performance by him.

  5. The 9th was a classic ‘Full Pack’ relief outing.

    (For those of you who aren’t old as dirt like me and coop, Full Pack was the nickname Earl Weaver gave to Dan Stanhouse, an Orioles relief pitcher in the 70s who would put all sorts of guys on base before somehow wiggling out of it. Weaver said every time he pitched he would be so nervous that he’d go through a full pack of cigarettes.)

    But the Braves hung in there, and I’m not going to write them off just yet. If there’s ANYTHING 2018 has taught us, is that this team isn’t going to quit until the last out is recorded.

  6. A 2-out 4-pitch walk to a horrible-hitting pitcher, followed by an egregious call on the 3-0 to Acuna leading directly to a grand slam. Later, runners on first and second, no outs, 3-0 to Muncy, but Vizcaino escapes. This is why baseball can be the most agonizing but thrilling game there is.

  7. And how about Snit sending Sobotka out for the 7th to face Turner, Muncy, and Machado? Chewie did himself proud there, didn’t he?

  8. @13 Ugh, and of course the Braves are being mentioned as well. I just hope that AA is not involved in any way.

  9. Three of the four third basemen on show yesterday each produced a resounding 0 for 4. When it really mattered.

    Two of them will shortly be expecting hundreds of millions of dollars of somebody else’s money.

    The third, our guy, duly admonished only for dress code violations, we will happily keep.

  10. @ 13

    ‘egregious behavior’
    This is a moment, eternally savor
    They’ll send in Clouseau
    attached to his Brief, ‘Only the Dodgers’, you know.

    High comedy, Broadway farce at its most unbelievable. It makes Coppy’s furtive back door knocks and sports cars mysteriously appearing overnight beneath the palm frond car port look like kid’s stuff. Making a list of your own employees graded as to your assessment of their degree of criminality is hilarious. Send him in.

    But only the Dodgers of course.

  11. I know Nick hit the ball hard a couple times last night with no success, but I’m ready for the post-Kakes era in Atlanta. When the lineup goes Acuna, Camargo, then Freeman, Kakes coming up clean-up is such an abrupt end to the core of the lineup.

  12. I will miss Markakis’ professional ABs, and it’s not his fault he’s miscast in this lineup, but so it goes. We’ve got to get power from somewhere.

  13. The whole Dodger lineup does a remarkable job laying off border-line strikes. It’s almost *too* remarkable…iykwim.

  14. Anybody remotely feel like we should start Julio today? Folty threw what, like 50 pitches thursday? If Julio is going to pitch, Dodger Stadium is not the place for that to happen.

  15. 23-Wait, what are you saying-that the Dodgers have figured out time travel and are using it to know exactly which borderline pitches to take…cause if that’s what you’re saying, I agree, though it seems there may be more profitable uses for time travel. Perhaps the Dodgers are trying to be responsible time travelers and only use their new found ability around the margins, so as to not draw too much attention and also to not create a ripple effect leading to a world ending paradox….

  16. @25, I just want to know what kind of hocus pocus they are using. All these guys they pick up off the scrap heap, immerse into the Dodger Way, and suddenly they have the plate discipline of Barry Bonds. It’s uncanny. I need to know how they are cheating, and why we aren’t doing it too.

    Of course, the ungodly batting eye they are showing might also be explainable by “just take the first 4 pitches because Barves can’t throw strikes”. So there’s that. They might have won last night if they just never swung.

  17. @22 I’m with you, Adam. Kakes was great this year, especially in the first half and I think he helped the young guys. I hope he’s getting a nice two year contract somewhere.

  18. 27-To that point, did anyone else notice that Baez, when pitching the 7th, threw exactly 1 of his 21 pitches in the strike zone, and yet Culberson, Duda, Acuna (who walked) and Inciarte swung at 11 pitches. Where has the patience gone?

  19. The Dodgers also get every single borderline call. If I knew that would happen, I’d be laying off every borderline pitch too.

  20. @30 To tell the truth, I was asleep during the seventh…… But I just went back through the ABs and your point is absolutely stunning. Honestly, I counted three pitches in the zone but, even so, it’s insane that our guys swung at that many pitches out of the zone. Thanks for pointing that out. Wow.

  21. Faintly amazing piece on TC from ITG on Rich Hill and how we should approach hitting him. It all sounds too simple. Until you get into the detail. We can beat this guy.

  22. iykwim
    the implications are not serene
    to which end will they be used?
    put them in the dock, they become the accused.

  23. I expect the braves to use this series as evidence against Folty in arbitration. Disappointing.

  24. Acuña was shaded way over in left center and had to run over to the corner to retrieve the double.

  25. Speaking of disappointments, Johan camargo….nearly makes me want the braves to look for a 3rd baseman even after his good year.

  26. Remember when I said we had the defensive advantage? Yeah, we don’t have the defensive advantage.

  27. I hate walking the 8th guy to get to the pitcher. If you’re a good pitcher, get the 8th guy out to start the next inning with the pitcher. Too many times this year, I’ve seen the Braves give something up to the pitcher.

  28. Would somebody please whallop one of these looping Hill curveballs? Guy is almost going full Campillo out there.

  29. damn do I hate that bunt call. Hill has walked the last two batters, make him throw Ender a strike.

  30. Goddamnit. Anywhere but a GO to 3rd. Holy cow. Why oh why can’t we try a safety squeeze? We sure can’t get a sac fly or RBI GO.

    ZUK!!! Saved the day. Saved us from Culby’s incompetence.

    Now, who’s gonna pitch? Venters? Also, looking forward to a Sobotka sighting.

  31. Jonny’s really bringing it. 95mph.

    Way to go Jonny, A clean inning after scoring. Has to be the first in a while.

  32. Camargo. Move some runners over. Do the little things.

    Wow, lucky as hell. Finally getting into the LA defense with Turner and Machado boots.

  33. Lousy strike call on Flowers. Venters had three of those called balls.

    Can’t get a sac fly to save our lives.

  34. Damn… I hope that doesn’t cost us. You knew Ender was swinging first pitch and lost control of the at bat

  35. @78 you know its going to come back to hurt us, just brace for the inevitable.

    This ump sucks, BTW.

    And why is ventrers going a second inning against eighties, FFS.

  36. We cannot get a break. Just can’t.

    That’s a damn shame because Snit was trying to get Venters through this inning since he has to PH next inning anyway (pitcher up second). So damn close.

    I think Dansby might’ve gotten to the first GB, too.

    Maybe they could let Teheran pinch hit and pitch the 7th….

  37. Lol now Albies messed up. You know its coming, goddamnit.

    Neck was obviously to blame as well, but albies has the speed to get that if he actually tried.

  38. We need Dansby at short. That was almost exactly the place where he made the play to put away the D’Backs.

  39. Big difference between how the Dodgers responded to the Braves gifting them an extra out vs. the Braves last inning.

  40. Damn Markakis… run hard and make an
    f-ing play. We knew that blown bases loaded situation would cost us

  41. This damn game. Seems like this always happens when you leave the bases loaded. We’ve had tons of chances.

  42. @88 We are terrible at creating runs. Just terrible. With our inability to hit sac flies, we should lead the league in squeeze bunts.

  43. You also cannot pitch Bad Brach in a high-leverage / elimination situation. He shouldn’t even have been on the roster.

    We came into this David v Goliath matchup without a full assortment of stones.

  44. Markakis’ brother in law can go with him. Swinging 2-0 when you hit like a pitcher is beyond stupid

  45. It ain’t over yet. At least Neck’s BIL (h/t putter) is out of the mix. Julio is gonna ph at some point, isn’t he?

  46. Why is flaherty swinging and popping up when 2-0 . friggin embarassing. Sorry for the negativity today, but damn, I can’t wait for quite a few people on this roster to not be here next year.

    And speaking of being here next year, preliminary results for me are that I don’t have the big C, so I’ll be here doing my chief nocahoma impression (hopefully).

  47. @120 Agree. I might’ve thought it would have been better to give Venters one more batter. But Brach was as good a choice as any and Freese does not normally hit righties.

    It’s not like any of the Dodger hits that inning were very hard hit.

  48. When are we going to get an ump that calls a strike a strike????

    Four balls – two of which were strikes.

  49. Huge mistake pitch by Sobotka – first one that was up.

    All of our righthanders have gotten crushed. I am STILL upset they took a 3rd catcher rather than Biddle. Biddle can go longer then Venters.

  50. And then there is that…maybe call something other than a fastball? Our catchers have not called a great series

  51. BTW, that’s just atrocious pitch calling. He swings and misses by a foot if you throw him a hook at any point in that sequence.

  52. Couple things I’ve been pondering:

    – Snit has non-zero chance to win Manager of the Year and be let go at the same time.

    – How do you feel right about now if you are Julio Teheran?

  53. Well it was a fun season and unexpected division win.

    9th straight playoff loss really stings. 17 years in a long ass time.

    Let’s hope they open the pocketbooks and help push this team forward in the long, cold winter ahead.

  54. @120 yes we did…and if they are allowed to spend the freed up cash next year and the foreseeable future could be epic. Need a power hitting outfielder to replace Kakes… preferably right handed

  55. @121, I hope the crowd cheers like hell for Julio, because after the way he was used this postseason, and Snit’s remarks about him, I feel like there’s a very high chance this is the last time we see him in a Braves uniform.

  56. I realize this is going to sound like hindsight, but my wife is my witness at the time. Pinchhitting for Folty (which implicates the things that led to that, like the bunt by Inciarte) was a bad move. Not that the Braves were in a good position in any case, but even when Suzuki gets the hit to get a one run lead, you now have to get through 5 innings with a dodgy bullpen against a great hitting team. I ask any of you: would you rather be down 1 in the 5th with Folty on the mound or up 1 with him not. (And that *assumes* Suzuki’s hit, which is about a one-out-of-four proposition.) Could Folty have given up more runs? Sure… but I’d rather be down one than up one in that position.

  57. @128, I’ve gone back and forth on that one. Folty only had maybe 2 more innings in him at best. The strike zone was microscopic and he was throwing tons of pitches.

    So we get to the 6th trailing 2-1…we only have two guys on the team that show any semblance of quality ABs, and 4-9 in the order are so bad that you almost have a hard time seeing how we score. Going for it in the 4th was defensible. I have no problem with it.

  58. From now on every article Jeff Schultz and DOB put up on the Athletic, I’m giving it a poor review

  59. @129: It’s defensible, sure, but I think it was also wrong. But why not just let Inciarte and Culberson hit and see what happens? I admit, probably nothing. But we’ll never know.

  60. @131, Hey I’m with you on the sac bunt thing. Making an out on purpose is the dumbest thing you can do in baseball. Especially early in the game, with your position player hitting.

    Our management hasn’t gone full-SABR yet. I thought that AA was bringing that to the table, but really it’s just been barely noticeable.

  61. As an alternative, we could have replaced Folty with Julio immediately. That was also a higher percentage play than what we did.

  62. Agreed. That’s what got me to thinking about Julio’s future. He surely should’ve followed Folty if he had any kind of role on this team going forward.

  63. As usual, I’m with JonathanF on this. The sac bunt was the bad decision that led to the other ones. And pulling Folty there, requiring this bullpen to go 5, was asking too much.

  64. Just wanna thank everyone for the messages of support last time and now; just me saying that I was sick, out loud for the first time here was a cathartic moment for me, and your messages were really appreciated.

    Shame that Duda blast went foul, would made the 9th more fun.

  65. Fun season everybody. Definitely unexpected. Here’s hoping AA is allowed to spend some money to buy us some power bats for next season.

  66. NLDS OPS

    .717 RAJ
    .400 Albies
    .732 Freeman
    .350 Markakis
    .063 Camargo
    .393 Flowers
    .462 Inciarte
    .398 Culberson
    .500 Suzuki

    It’s a miracle that we won a game given the above. All things considered the pitching did ok. The offense, as usual in the postseason, wasn’t good enough and put us in a position where the pitching had to be perfect.

  67. @143 I’m not sure how you can say the pitching was OK. They gave up 5+ runs in three of four games. That is NOT good enough or even OK. And they let the Dodgers score first in three of four games. What was it…… 27 walks or 29 walks in 36 innings? Puhleeze.

    To all feeling sorry for Teheran, just remember that he would have given up 1-3 runs if he pitched a 1st inning. That he pitched very well tonight is an extremely small sample size.

  68. Ok in a relative sense. That lineup is going to score 5 runs against almost anyone. Our pitching performed close to what you’d expect. The offense was awful. Horrid. Terrible.

  69. Great year overall. It was nice listening to meaningful baseball games in the heat of summer and putting the Nats and Phils to bed early.

    But, here we are again, yet another feeble showing in the playoffs. Oh well.

  70. I am not bitter about this year……. But, I really hope the bitter tast of defeat stays with these players for a long time so they can be on fire next year.

  71. I must say I’m disappointed, even if we are a year early. We need a defensive and offensive upgrade at catcher and RF.

  72. Let’s celebrate this season’s success. The team is ahead of schedule. The young pitchers are getting the necessary experience. Not everybody is Smoltzie and Avery who can pitch shutout baseball in playoff in their sleep.

    This is a team we should be proud of. Returning to playoff is the first step. Now let’s aim for some playoff success. I am less mad about this team comparing to our teams in the 90s and early 2000s as obviously we are not in the “all-in” mode this season.

    And I agree with Smitty, I want to get Machado too.

  73. Sign Harper and Grandal. Figure out which pitchers you want to keep and trade the excess to restock position players in the farm system.

  74. Here’s what’s needed for next year.

    1. All of the pitching prospects to advance. Give the youngsters more spots in the rotation.
    2. Acuna progress to Mookie Betts level.
    3. Dansby to become an average hitter.
    4. 30 more HRs – Harper in RF.
    5. Defense and offense improvement at Catcher = Realmuto. We need someone who can stop a running game and call a good game and give good targets.
    6. Bullpen. 6-8 solid alternatives. Probably requires signing 1-2 high functioning relievers (1 if O’Day comes back strong) – Herrera or Familia.
    7. Give Riley a chance to win the 3B job. We need to have starter quality players on the bench.

    P.S. Consider signing Corbin. Depending upon how much we can spend. We need lefty starters to throw at the best teams.

  75. @153 Let’s give Inciarte one more year. Not a good year to trade him when we have to replace Nick as well.

  76. Signing Grandal has to be Plan B. It would limit our ability to sign a top reliever (e.g. Familia) and/or top starter (e.g. Corbin).

    Signing Machado does not provide the same benefit as signing Harper. We already have options at SS and 3B but none for RF.

    We do have to get one of the two because the Phillies could sign both. Although, I do not believe Machado wants to go to Philly.

  77. @153 Not sure why everyone is down on Inciarte. He is a solid 3 WAR player. We need to keep any 3 WAR players we have and acquire or develop more. Inciarte needs to stay until Pache or Waters is ready.

    We really need more of our pitchers to get to 3 WAR. So far, we have Folty and Gausman. We need 2 lefty 3 WAR pitchers. Newk and Fried are the best possibilities unless we sign Corbin. Teheran will never get back there and needs to be traded.

  78. If you are going to carry Swanson/Albies/Inciarte in the same lineup, you better fill the rest in with complete stud hitters. Otherwise you just end up with more of the same.

    I have no clue what we have in Camargo. I would probably try to upgrade 3B still.

    We have all offseason to rosterbate. I think I need a break for a while.

  79. I hate Harper. Machado allows you to play Camargo at short.
    Let’s trade for Nicholas Castellanos

  80. So as far as the pitch calling goes, I agree that we need a new starting catcher and for Flowers to be the backup. I’m afraid we may also need something to change coachingwise. I was going to say for sure that we needed a new pitching coach, then I heard Kurt Suzuki last night mention something about how Sal Fasano is the coach who formulates the game plans in that regard, assumedly not Hernandez, so maybe it’s him that needs to go. Whatever the case, we can’t have the exact same braintrust putting together the pitching plan of attack next year, because it was bad indeed down the stretch this year.

    Outside of that, sign a big bat, get a top-of-the-rotation arm, and shore up the bullpen.

  81. @162, got to see a position player pitch in the postseason, and a utility player hit for the cycle. Baseball is so weird.

  82. I don’t get it about hating Harper and/or Machado. They have not done anything personally to engender that feeling. Everytime I hear from Harper, he seems like a perfectly decent human being. Machado used to be a little immature but he has grown up a lot and seems like a perfectly decent human being. If either joins our team, you guys will love them.

    Now, I don’t like Joey Bats – he’s a showboat and arrogant – and has had his comeuppance that he can’t hit any more and just looks sad. And Kemp doesn’t generate much respect seeing as he can’t manage to keep himself motivated or in shape enough to do what he’s paid to do. I didn’t much like A-Rod either because of his arrogance and lack of respect.

    I just haven’t seen anything to dislike with Harper or Machado. Harper’s a great fit for us because he can challenge Dansby and Charlie for best hair.

  83. @157 Inciarte is who he is, but both Dansby and Ozzie have room to grow. Not sure how Ozzie is not a stud hitter with 24HRs and 60+ XBH. He needs to work on plate discipline but as he matures, he will be better. Dansby already has 14HRs with the ability for 20+. He could easily turn into a JJ Hardy type – great defense, low OBA, 20-30 HRs per year.

  84. @165 For me, the year to year inconsistency of Harper scares me considering the price tag. Machado is a better option for me. How to handle Dansby/Johan can be considered later. Get the best player first.

  85. This was such a fun year. We’ve come as far as possible for this season.
    Make some moves and really go for it next season.
    Go Braves!

  86. I don’t know how all those walks are in relation to the pitching philosophy of Chuck Hernandez. Leo’s was fastball down and away, maybe Chuck’s is to have them swing at balls? Don’t know but that’s the very first thing AA needs to look at for next season. Besides all the runs, it is really annoying and frustrating to watch as a fan. #NoMoreWalks

  87. The season never ends well when you bounce your headphones off the bedroom wall after the Machado HR, which felt inevitable given the events of the 5th innings.

    The more I consider the post season experience, the more I am drawn to comparisons to tennis, where games between top players hang on small margins and the ability to make the big points count. In a series such as this the Braves did not do this and we can all point to where and when – and when the line up is not as good as the opposition’s these points become even bigger

    But the future beckons brightly, but I offer an alternative view. Much comment has already been made about filling the obvious holes for 2019, but if the Braves overperformed in 2018 (as I hope we would all agree) would the organisation want to go “all in” for 2019, or would it choose to go down the gradual improvement path by continuing to invest in the youth movement in order to be ready for 2020 and beyond

    I look forward to the offseason pack shuffling, but I’d be shocked if there was a major FA splash landing

  88. I was unable to watch any of yesterday’s game. TBH I’m more bummed about that than the outcome.

    There are lots of avenues to improve the team, so many that it’s difficult for me to get worked up about which is best. That’s a nice place to be. So long as our GM and half our organization aren’t swept up in potential RICO illegalities…again…I look forward to this offseason!

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