• Finally. We have our first Saturday night victory of the new season which you know who will help us celebrate in the traditional manner. It was a great game to watch, full of incident and good things following bad but it was nearly ruined by Chip’s inane and irrelevant asides to the action on the field, Shut up already – more later.

All 11 of our runs tonight were scored by the top 5 in our order, fine concentrated hitting. There was only one HR, a solo shot from Nick latish in the game but that had little bearing on the result. The bats in the main performed well tonight and gave a variety of Mets pitchers plenty of problems . Just as well they did because early on we had been put through agonies of frustration by a certain starting pitcher of ours who should know better but apparently does not. After being given a 4 run lead to start off the second Newcombe unbelievably gave it straight back before being yanked with just one out in the 2nd. This time his pitch total of 35 contained 25 strikes, not terrible by his standards but still infuriating when you had to couple it with 2 and 0 starts, long long counts and, most seriously, too many soft pitches over the plate.

It should be said that 2 0f the 4 runs they got back then were down to Donaldson, not scored, who completely missed a reasonable ground ball to his left which halved the Met deficit, Newk, of course, having loaded the bases to prime the pump as it were.

So he was gone before you knew it, so sad, such a waste. He needs to see Smoltz’s shrink. He does not believe in himself. He even looks timid these days, something has to be done or he will never make at as a ML starter, making that trade even more infuriating.

Now to the really good news of the night against which the result pales in comparison. Touki had been brought up this morning, Wright had been properly sent down. It proved a timely call because having come in with 1 out in the 2nd he was to remain through the 7th. Heartening stuff from him with huge implications for the future hopefully. 85 pitches, 53 strikes. 6 IP 4H 1R 2 BB. He was terrific. Other than rehab starts as necessary in the future he should never see Gwinnett again. Newcombe not so, he has no place here as of now.

Sobotka pitched a rather untidy 1 2/3 innings to close the win out. He looks good, needs to be used often and you believe he will come on.

Hitting. Swanson looks tired, sit him down for a day or two. The other crock, Nick, had another great day with the bat. JD had a fine evening, got his first home run to great acclaim on his return to the dugout plus scored 3 runs.

Freddie was fine but needs a rest too. Ozzie was great – 2 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, benfiting greatly by the Mets RH starting pitcher only lasting one out in the FIRST! Camargo was excellent, 2 hits 2 rbis BB.

Enough already, a fine win, a badly needed one, and Touki Touki Touki!

Something must now be said about Chip tonight. His verbal diarrhea took a pronounced step up, for whatever reason. He remains terrified of silence, its his compulsion is to fill it. In that vein, to give him more nonsensical facts to talk about which largely are more and more removed from the game we are all concentrating on he has trained one of his lackeys ‘downstairs’ to pour over old stat books and enumerate such tripe as how many foul balls there were in the early thirties compared to 1947. All this time the game is going on of course.

Then he surpassed himself. While Sobotka was struggling a bit to close out the ninth and a couple of runs had scored to introduce a little edginess he started to talk about a Braves pitcher years back who had gone to see some now dead guru who had told him his spin rate he should not confuse with some other rate whatever it was. Dear God. Shut up. Good night. Enjoy Elton.

Addendum ‘ Who are the players you would have least liked to throw a curve ball to?’ Chip will tell you, multiple times.,lock_state=final,game_tab=box,game=567165


  1. Thanks, blazon. Excellent recap.

    I can’t help but feel bad for Newk. I think you gotta let him start the next game. You should build him back up after a stinker like this. Generally, in his first game of the season, someone mentioned that his release point is unusually inconsistent, which seems to be the main thing they need to work on. Still, I’d let him go back out again next time and (hopefully) get that confidence back.
    Touki, what a game.
    Great offense of course. Kakes has been fantastic so far this season and with Donaldson heating up, this offense is up there with any in the NL.
    And you’re right, blazon, maybe time to start resting a guy or two in the next couple of games.
    Overall great win!

  2. timo, good morning and thanks.

    Dunno about Newk though I take your point. Seems to me this business of don’t throw so hard and you’ll have better control has failed. Glav said in the game he must be more aggressive and attack the plate. That LA game drives you crazy, thinking back to it. Sports psychology is pretty routine these days, no big deal.

  3. @2…you are welcome.

    ANYONE if you know how to reduce the size of the video as printed please do so or tell me how!

  4. Play by play
    to tell us about this is ok
    but no more artifice
    I can’t sleep since you started this.

  5. It’s not as though the game was boring, was it? By layering gobs of irrelevance on top of the action you came into conflict with it. Maybe the game itself is starting to bore you? Disengage.

  6. “There was only one HR, a solo shot from Nick latish in the game but that had little bearing on the result.”

    There were two, with Donaldson’s coming last for the 11th run.

  7. Blazon, I think that if you simply post the URL into a WordPress block, then it’ll show up right.

  8. Mlb site says Teheran faces fellow ace DeGrom. If Teheran is our ace, we’re in more trouble than I thought.

  9. At what sample size should one start paying attention to run differential? Right now, ATL is top five in the league.

  10. blazon, nice recap. I didn’t suffer through Chip by watching the FS1 broadcast with Smoltz. Probably just as much useless information but more entertaining. Smoltz likes to talk more about how different pitchers are handled these days vs the good ole days.

    At any rate, I think you’re right about Newk. He needs to go back to AAA to find his mojo again. Being not only his control but his aggressiveness. I’m not sure you’re exactly right about Touki, but he certainly deserves to take Newk’s spot right now. I could live with a rotation of Folty. Gaus, Teheran, Fried, Touki. Touki is the most fit, in my opinion, of all of them for bullpen work, if, for example, Soroka gets called up.

    For all of you worrying about deGrom, the Braves have hit him pretty well and there is an obvious lineup that could work based upon history. Something like

    Inciarte or Albies

    That lineup could hurt deGrom.

    Just looked at some stats on FG and a couple of interesting things popped up. One is that Acuna is currently rated as the best fielding LF in the majors. Markakis on the other hand is lagging on defense back to his previous norms. And Ender may have lost a step. Camargo has been better. Alex Jackson has been a decent framer. Overall the Braves are the 6th best defensive team in the majors. One other little note – the Phillies have the best defensive RF in the majors….. oh well.

    Acuna is the 15th best player in the majors right there tied with…… Bryce Harper. Only Bryce has a BABIP 100 points higher. In fact, Acuna has the third lowest BABIP of the top 25 so he may have more to come. Oddly, as good as Dansby has been, his BABIP is less than .300 so he’s been unlucky, too.

    Sobotka is an interesting case. Watching him pitch, he certainly has command, but not always control. He’ll go several pitches in perfect spots and then uncork something really wild – occasionally wild in the middle of the plate and that’s why he’s getting hit. His xFIP is half of his ERA so it seems to be worth letting him continue to work it out. And guess who has the best xFIP on the entire staff………. our old friend Luke Jackson. Luke has an awful BABIP against, so maybe his poor performance has been a bit of bad luck.

    Also, Venters needs to get fixed quick. He’s looking a lot like a bad version of Sam Freeman or Peter Moylan from last year. He’s dragged the staff down as much in 2.1 innings as Kyle Wright did in 14 innings.

  11. I still think Julio needs to be traded, but the problem is you’d have to be sure of having at least 4 better pitchers in the rotation and I don’t think we can say that yet.

  12. I’m almost inclined to agree that you can’t start both Ender and Albies against a RHP, and that’s part of why we’re struggling to score runs against them. Donaldson’s HR was off a RHP, so maybe that’ll get him going. But I’m so much more confident with how the lineup can be structured against LHP vs. RHP.

    For his career, Ender is hitting .291/.340/.407 against righties. But in 2018, he hit .264/.324/.395, and so far this year he’s hitting .159/.260/.295 in 50 PAs. I don’t know how to look up multi-year platoon splits, but you can see that his 2018 and 2019 has dragged down his career numbers, so he was much more serviceable against righties from 2014-2017. He was, though, aided by a .826 OPS in a full season against RHP in 2015, his age-24 season, and he hasn’t gotten close to that since other than his .773 OPS season in 2017. His 2016 showing was also poor (.726 OPS against RHP).

    He’s also a slow starter, which is not helpful right now, but he’s also not just a slow starter. He had a .639 OPS last April, but also a .612 OPS in June. They’re small enough samples that maybe a couple hits fell better in another month, but the point is that he’s just not a slow starter. He can just flat out stink at times.

    With that said, I love up-the-middle defense. And I love consistency in the SS/2B/CF positions. I just watched Joc Pederson in CF and Kike Hernandez in RF let a ball drop in the RC warning track yesterday because the versatile Dodgers — not a bad thing — have a different guy playing every outfield position every day. We saw Cubs’ defenders playing out of position constantly kicking balls all over the yard the other night. I love what we’re doing with Camargo, and I don’t like Ender playing against LHP at all, but I like having a great glove consistently up the middle as sort of “leaders” of the defense. I really enjoyed watching Ender control the OF defense during all the ST games I went to. So I think he deserves 450 PAs, and he can still probably get you 3 WAR in those few PAs, but I don’t think he deserves any more than that.

  13. Also, we totally beat a division rival last night because our 26th man — the fresh guy we were able to call up — was infinitely better than their 25th/26th man. I think we win a lot more games this year than our rivals because the 22nd through 29th-best players in the organization are so much better than what these teams will be able to throw out there. It’s not going to work in the playoffs, and it sure as heck probably won’t work tonight with deGrom vs. Teheran, but there are going to be a lot of games where our organizational depth will smother the opposing team. There are not 25 major league baseball players on the Mets roster. Not sure if it’ll matter, though, since the core of their roster is pretty freaking good.

  14. I also believe they should probably give Newcomb one more start. If he struggles though, he’s got to go down. Continually getting lit up in Atlanta isn’t going to do him or the team any favors. Honestly, I’m just not sure the consistency is ever going to be there with him, though. Unlike some of the other Braves young pitchers, he’s not at that age where you can chalk it up to youth and inexperience.

  15. Newcomb optioned. Vizzy IL’ed. Winkler recalled. Webb called up. Interesting.

  16. Trying to construct a good batting order is where not adding a bigger bat in RF really hurt. If they had another source of power, you’ve got…

    1) Acuna
    2) Donaldson
    3) Freeman
    4) “The RF”
    5) Albies
    6) FlowCann
    7) Swanson
    8) Inciarte
    9) Pitcher

    I don’t know, maybe you flip-flop Swanson and the Catcher? Overall though, it’s just easier to slot everybody else when you can do so without having to hit Nick 4th. That’s not even a knock on Nick, because Nick’s a good 2 hole type guy. It’s just the way this team is constructed, there’s an excess of 2 hole type guys, and not enough 3-4-5 types.

  17. Kakes has a .856 OPS in almost 10% of the season. I’m not sure if he’s really been that much of a disappointment short of signing Harper.

  18. @20 No, not a disappointment by any means. He’s had a great start. Someone just needs to put the ball over the wall, and the club is short on those guys.

  19. There is a greater than zero chance we never see Newcomb pitch for Atlanta again. I find that really interesting. How much more than zero? Dunno.

  20. Amazing that one finds oneself liking him again. Are we fickle people…or just generous?

  21. In Tom Glavine’s 2nd year he pitched close to 200 innings, struck out about 80, had an ERA of over 4.50 and lost 17 games. Please understand that I’m not comparing Glavine to any of our current prospects, but I wonder if it would have helped or hurt Glavine’s career if he was sent back and forth to AAA like is happening with several Braves pitchers now. I guess there is really no way to know.

  22. I guess we all love a good comeback story, blazon.
    But yeah, had the same thought. Can’t help but pull for him. He’s good for the game.

  23. As far as Tiger goes, I’m over him. I don’t wish him ill will, but I’m happy when the new generation wins. Tiger had his chance and was overhyped to the point of nausea. He is the New York Yankee of golf.

  24. So, apparently, no one else took exception to Chip last night, I must be getting cranky.

    Did you really not mind those acres of non sequiturs while the game proceeded apace?

  25. @31 I pretty much always take exception to Chip, but didn’t happen to catch much of last night’s game. Doesn’t sound enjoyable, but still probably preferable to when he really got going with Joe on anti-saber rants. I swear I get a little triggered every time he tells us how many more outs a pitcher needs to qualify for the “win.”

  26. Acuna is no longer a lead-off hitter. He just isn’t. He too much more to offer as a run producer to hit lead off. The leadoff hitter exists to produce the highest OBP on the team. If you’re going to sign a Markakis type then you must commit yourslef to use him where he makes most sense – at leadoff peppering the field with singles and doubles.

    The other option, Albies, will be a great leadoff hitter if he becomes what we really want him to be. But he is much more susceptible to splits and, for now, only makes sense leading off against lefties.

    Acuna should bat second, if anywhere. But I am not sure I care if we flop Donaldson or Acuna between 2 and 4. Either makes sense in either slot – especially if Donaldson keeps getting hotter.

    The lineup I proposed above was specifically for deGrom and Snitker seems to have listened. Camargo has hit deGrom and must be fifth. While I believe that Markakis should lead off, none of Albies, Inciarte, or Swanson has hit much against DeGrom. Regardless of handedness, I would have sat either Inciarte or Albies. Inciarte has had the most chances against deGrom with the least results. I do respect that Dansby has not looked good the last couple of days so it makes a lot of sense to rest him today.

    I also do not believe that Newcomb is in any way shape or form reliever material. Not any more than Teheran is. The best relievers are ones that historically throw strikes and perform best against the first time through the order. Guys like Teheran must start as they often perform best the second or third time through the order. Newcomb and Wright need to use AAA to get their mojos back. It’s a tool that can only be used when they’re young, so we should use it. Same for guys like Winkler and Duvall; options are tools to use to help players work on the form and consistency.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ve got in Webb, If we can continue to grow some good relievers then maybe the bullpen can be fixed from within too. Minter, Sobotka, Parsons, Webb, Burrows, Clouse – these guys all have potential to be top relievers.

  27. The one thing I really wanted last night which seemed to be within reach was to hold the Mets less than 6 runs and end their streak of games with 6 or more. Could have done that if Sobotka hadn’t faltered.

  28. I love our prospects as much as almost anyone, but I’m just getting less and less comfortable with this game of Russian roulette with our relievers. We just keep thinking that there will be a new effective reliever in AAA. With Vizzy on the DL, our entire bullpen sans Venters pretty much makes the league minimum, and IIRC, Venters is only making about a million two or five.

  29. Inciarte has no business playing over Camargo, ever. I expect to see him traded this year.

  30. I too wish they’d spend on the bullpen.

    I’m getting 2006 flashbacks, when everyone knew the team needed to acquire a closer, and Schuerholz said as much all offseason until he failed to get one and was just like “eh, maybe Chris Reitsma can do it.”

    By the time they traded for Bob Wickman in late July, it was too little too late.

  31. One could argue that we need a starting pitcher way more than we need bullpen help. We really need both I guess. Gonna be interesting to see how we address this without spending money.

  32. If you listen to the Behind the Braves podcast interview of AA that timo linked to — thank you, timo, by the way — AA emphatically said that payroll will be higher than last year. Spotrac had our payroll at $131M, and so far we’re at $114M. You may disagree if you listened to it, but he seemed to be kinda flippant, almost dismissive, of the fan concerns. I felt like he was responding as if the fans were just not willing to trust him and he just doesn’t think much of it. He again gave the examples of 2015 and 2018 where his teams added significant payroll at the deadlines as proof that he likes to do that.

    Regardless, doubt we’ll catch the Phils, Nats, or Mets in payroll, but it will at least be an improvement.

  33. The fans are concerned because there’s no reason to add significant payroll at the deadline when you’re already 10 games out.

  34. He ain’t coming back any time soon.

  35. Man, get me back to FS1. This ESPN crew is awful. I guess it doesn’t help that I hate ARod.

  36. They’re interviewing Hank. A lot of softball questions. I wish they’d ask him about the steroid era in front of ARod.

  37. @31 You’re not alone, Blazon. I imagine it’s just something of a dead horse at this point. As soon as I read Roger’s #33 from the last thread I switched over to FS1, unaware up to then that the option had been available. Chip’s need to poll Glavine and Byrd about things unrelated to the game at hand was starting to get to me. When a team or a game it already entertaining as last night’s was it’s not necessary to hold court to fill the dead air. I don’t think Chip gets that. He also tries to force the idea of chemistry with prolonged insincere bouts of laughter whenever any of his broadcast partners says anything remotely humorous.

    Beyond any of that I believe it’s Chip’s reflexive misuse of baseball announcer tropes that gets to me the most when I hear it. For instance, he’ll start talking about the need for “insurance runs” as early as the 4th inning. Or if an inning ends on a fielder’s choice he’ll point out that runner got “erased” at second base as if losing the lead runner carries some special relevance at that point. I mean the inning is over. Why would it matter?

    Ordinarily I’m not opposed to those types of cliches applied in their proper context. It’s just that Chip seems to apply them indiscriminately and somewhat ignorantly.

  38. Chip’s main problem is that he doesn’t really know the game. I would assume he didn’t play it much as a kid?

  39. I don’t want to commit any sacrilege here, but I think Hank Aaron may not know who Ronald Acuna Jr. is.

  40. Maybe interviewing 85 year old dudes isn’t the most compelling way to dress up the broadcast for the “casual” viewer.

  41. I enjoyed listening to Hank reminisce but there was a whole inning of baseball that might as well not have existed.

  42. I watched (per MLB blackout rules) Gary Cohen and Ron Darling last night. Consistently entertaining and informative. Darling’s about to take a couple of months off for some surgery, unfortunately. As to Chip, I still count his “Let’s see if…”s every damn game. They are invariably inane and he cannot stop. The other trope is, for a guy who purports to not to be taken in by an overemphasis on homers speculates about what the score would be if the current plate-dweller would hit a home run almost every damn at bat. It’s almost as if we don’t know that a home run would score the batter and whomever is on base.

    Finally, I love Hank Aaron. Please stop interviewing him.

  43. The ESPN broadcast is horrible. I don’t love Chip, don’t hate him either, and I’m starting to miss him. The ESPN spin on just simply calling a perfectly fine baseball game is annoying. I’ll take all of Chip’s shortcomings as an announcer over this crap all day.

    And yes, interviewing Hank Aaron at his age for any longer than 5-10 minutes is not fair to Aaron nor the audience.

  44. Holy Cow. What a shot by Donaldson.

    Maybe Donaldson and Markakis can hit HRs every game. What a deal.

  45. There was a debate on Twitter by Donaldson and Chipper once where Donaldson said he was specifically trying to create backspin on his ball, and Chipper talking about how he wasn’t necessarily trying to get backspin.

    Donaldson’s home runs have A LOT of backspin. 16 degree launch angle. Sheesh.

  46. That Donaldson home run had that “sound,” didn’t it? Sounded like something blew up when he hit it.

  47. @61 16 deg is a very low launch angle. Considering a driver might be anywhere from 9deg to 15deg, it really did look like someone hitting a driver.

  48. @62, Not to take anything away from that mighty clout by J-Don, but doesn’t it seem ESPN has juiced up their mics at the plate? Every ball off the bat sounds huge.

  49. @64 Yes, my wife and I were just talking about that. We were both distracted, but heard Culberson’s clobber and we both jerked our heads toward the TV because it was so loud.

  50. Man, Culberson got right out in front of a 96 MPH fastball in the inside half. He was really sitting on that.

  51. I hate the fact that they interviewed Teheran who had a terrific start and asked him about how great DeGrom was. Teheran was classy about it, but he outpitched the guy six ways from Sunday and didn’t get credit for it.

  52. We sure did get good Julio tonight. And how about Biddle? He’s on fire, too. Braves have given up two walks tonight; Mets 6.

  53. @69 ESPN is not even trying to hide it at this point.

    Lord willing, we’ll be tied for first tonight.

  54. Not for nothing, but Austin Riley has really struggled. Travis Demeritte continues to play well.

  55. Nobody out and a runner on second, Ender should be bunting. I don’t care if we are up by five.

  56. @73 Pretty sure that Riley has consistently been a slow starter. I’m glad he gets all year to work on things at AAA.

  57. I’m really pulling for Venters to turn it around, but he’s really close to being put on the IL for inability to pitch.

  58. @73 Someday, Travis is going to be a really good Super Util. Not as good as Camargo, but a quality player. He need s a shot and to cut down on the K’s a bit. He’s already a pretty good 3-outcome type.

  59. 78 — He doesn’t play IF at all anymore and hasn’t played CF. His bat might play as a super utility guy but his glove might not.

  60. Jackson getting that third out in the 8th was huge. Had he not, Alonso would have come up with the bases loaded and we with a 3 run lead. Jackson becomes more and more important, in varied roles.

    Roger, thanks for spotting the problem with Ossie’s spike on that throw. Wondered.

  61. I really like Venters, it sucks to think he’s probably close to getting DLed with a made-up injury.

  62. I’m going to complain about this team’s lack of complete game shutouts tomorrow, since they went on a HR tear after I complained about their lack of power…

  63. How great to watch our under appreciated Teheran outduel the much vaunted De Grom.

    Proud of you Julio.

  64. Rob…

    On reflection. Your well worked argument earlier about the living contradiction that is Ender Inciarte was spot on. His defense is hugely important to this team and its pitchers and is essentially irreplaceable on his contract’s terms.

    There is absolutely no need to talk ourselves into a frenzy a la Markakis/Teheran to replace him. A modest .250 at the end of the year would be fine on top of everything else. Let’s wait till Pache is up for good and then let him learn from the master. Ender will still be under the same contract.

  65. @40: The Behind the Braves podcast was laughable. The hosts, one of whom is Greg McMichael, gave Alex cover by comparing what he does to the government and national security in that we don’t always have a need to know. Oh boy, did Alex use that to tell all of us that he wishes he could tell us so many things, but there are things that he just can’t tell us about certain players. Hey, I get that, but I’m not upset at things I haven’t been told. I’m upset at things I *have* been told. Nobody put a gun to his or McGuirk’s head and made them tell all of us about their list of needs that they were going to meet, how 2019 is the year, the “shop in any aisle” line, “financial flexibility,” etc. Nobody made McGuirk tell all of us that it “takes a lot to build this edifice.” The idea that fans are upset because of things they aren’t being told is a red herring. Alex also goes on to mention relief pitchers on long and expensive contracts and how those aren’t ideal (Kimbrel, without saying his name), but he’s the genius who signed an injured O’Day who may never throw a pitch in a Braves uniform. These guys think they know so much more than we do, and we’re all just too stupid to see their master plan.

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