Atlanta 2, Arizona 1

One night after losing a home run to an Adam Jones over the wall grab, Ronald Acuna hit another that only Paul Bunyan could’ve caught as the Braves up and won a pitcher’s duel in the desert by a 2-1 count.

Julio Teheran and Zack Greinke hooked up for a classic, and the bullpens were almost as good. In fact, this game would’ve fit right in with any number of games from the 90s run, dominant starting pitching, and just enough offense.

Snitker moved folks around in the line up. Acuna went to lead off, Josh Donaldson down from 2 to clean up, Dansby Swanson up to 2nd, and Ozzie Albies to 6th. The change seemed to work at the top, with all of Atlanta’s hits coming from the first 4 spots. Acuna with the aforementioned homer, Lt. Dans going 3-4, Freddie Freeman had 2 hits and the other RBI, and JD with the last Braves knock.

After both starters tossed 3 scoreless to start – Greinke faced the minimum thanks to a strike’em out, throw ’em out double play in the first – the Braves cracked the scoreboard in the 4th, when Swanson tripled with one out for the second of his three hits. FF5 singled him home. Julio looked like that would be enough for him until the 6th. He surrendered a two out double to Ketel Marte, but should have been out of the inning except for Swanson being unable to handle a pick off throw that clearly had Marte dead to rights. That non-error error came home to roost when last night’s villian David Peralta tripled him home. Teheran walked Adam Jones, but buckled down and got the final out, inducing Christian Walker to ground out.

Dan Winkler worked around an Ozzie Albies throwing error in the 7th, which set us up for Acuna’s heroics with two down in the 8th. RAJ drove a Yoan Lopez fastball 466 feet to straightaway center and about 25 feet up on the batter’s eye for the lead. Sean Newcomb gave up a one out single to Peralta, but no walks, and Luke Jackson showed an admirably good memory working a clean sheet ninth (soccer reference for Sam!) to pick up the save.

So, we move to 4-4 on this road trip, with two left. Although we’re one game under .500 we’re still second in the division and just three games back of the Phillies. John Schuerholz always seemed to wait for the 40 game mark to assess where each year’s team was, which, coincidentally is tonight. I think everyone knows what this edition of the team needs – yep, new announcers, err…bullpen help. Speaking of which, Jonny Venters was activated and A.J. Minter sent down to work on his confidence. If we can just keep from falling too far back then a well timed trade or signing (cough Kimbrel cough) could put us in the mix again.

Anyway, Kevin Gausman goes tonight against Merritt Kelly.

38 thoughts on “Atlanta 2, Arizona 1”

  1. Well done, Mr painter. Can someone who follows these things see if the Braves’ WPA is positive or negative after a steal attempt? Actually, all I want to know is how much lower.

  2. Thank you, Mr. Painter. Great game. Watched it all. All our pitchers did their jobs. A few more runs today would please me, but I’ve no complaints with game or recap. Well done, SP. Well done, Julio.

    Anybody heard anything on Bobby?

  3. I did a quick try to answer my own question above, but I can’t find a source that allows one to cumulate WPA from steal attempts. Fangraphs reports, however, that so far this year trying to steal has, on net, cost the Braves 1.4 runs, which puts them in 26th place. That’s not quite the same thing, since it’s context independent, but stealing is something we’re definitely not good at. The Braves have scored 185 runs, so this is not a big deal… unless, as I suspect, the leverage of the unsuccessful steals is high.

  4. Loving Sean Newcomb as short sample relief ace, but just playing devil’s advocate, is it worth it to give up on him as a starter after 49 big league starts? What if we did that with Folty? Why not do that with Teheran?

    Newcomb has gone from being one out away from no-hitting the eventual NL champions to losing his spot in the rotation in 15 starts.

  5. It depends on what you mean by “giving up.” He’s obviously a prime candidate to return to a starting role with someone else’s injury or ineffectiveness. OTOH, the problem with having so many potential starters is that once you blot your copybook, you move to the end of the line, I think. And if you were Newcomb, wouldn’t you rather wait your turn as an MLB reliever rather than a Gwinnett starter?

  6. You have to be patient with pitchers, but knowing when to cut bait seems pretty tough. I like the idea of a season in the pen for the guys like Newcomb that have struggled with consistency and command. Pitching more than every 5 or 6 days might help.

  7. So Bumgarner prefers to be traded to the Braves over the Phillies according to Ken Rosenthal.
    Get it done, AA.

  8. Watching this over and over again makes me happy

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  9. @7 I took that as more of Rosenthal throwing out a hypothetical scenario to illustrate his point than I did that being Bumgarner’s preference. Has he stated a preference for Atlanta anywhere? The great part about that though is if the 8 teams are contenders, that may lower the price some since some teams may be automatically out.

  10. One thing to maybe consider, regardless of his talent, is does Newcomb’s mindset work better as a reliever? Maybe he’s more comfortable going out there and just letting it rip for an inning or two than he is planning how to attack an order 2 or 3 times through? He sure looked great as a RP, limited sample size. If that’s what maximizes his talent, it’s not really “giving up” on him, right? I think it’s important to make players comfortable, if you can.

  11. I’ll always be a Braves fan, but Arizona has my very favorite uniforms in baseball. I love those red and black jerseys.

    Go Acuna!

  12. Lord, take me before I have to listen to Chip and Joe finish this discussion…

    Rats… No luck.

  13. Listening to the announcers natter on about WAR versus wins is extremely painful.

    What WAR and similar stats do is remove the effect of teammates on a player’s value. Great players will have great WAR regardless of their teammates.

    Let’s look at Phil Niekro as an example. Let’s assume Knucksie retires at age 40 after the 1979 season with 216 wins (100 less than his final total). Is that enough to get him in the Hall of Fame? Probably not.

    However, by retiring in 1979, Knucksie only loses 18 of his 96 WAR, leaving him with 78 WAR, comparable to Tom Glavine, used by the announcers as an example of a deserving member of the HOF.

    Does hypothetical early retirement Knucksie deserve to be excluded from the HOF because he played for a number of absolutely putrid Braves teams in the 70’s? Of course not, and it’s an argument that I would hope could persuade any Braves announcer with a scintilla of knowledge about team history.

  14. Thanks Eric R, but I might also suggest that Joe and Chip google “Keltner list” and note that the majority of criteria there are not dependent on the era in which a player played.

    They might also note that there is a 3000 hit 500 home run player (Rafael Palmeiro) who, even without his steroid issues, ought to be considered a marginal Hall of Famer because (surprise!) voters, while almost completely clueless, have little difficulty adapting standards to new eras and his wRC+ makes him about the 180th best hitter. The notion that they won’t be able to do so for elite pitchers is just dumb.

    In their favor, Chip and Joe epitomize a certain kind of Hall of Fame voter who probably exists, so it’s good to see this sort of “reasoning” live in the field.

  15. The AZ broadcast had just flashed a graphic showing how Johan was hitting .196 from the left side this year. That was lovely.

    Let’s hope this is enough Webb Width.

  16. The record is 20-20, 10-10 at home, 10-10 away. 191 runs scored, 192 runs allowed. 5-5 in their last 10. Folks, that’s an average team.

  17. @4 I’ve seen three FF5 strike’em out, throw’em outs that I can remember including one tonight. I am not sure those are steal attempts. I think they’re run and hits and Snit expects Freddie to make contact. I think it’s particularly interesting that Freddie cannot seem to make contact any time someone is running.

  18. 15 — Well, Christian Walker is a former Gamecock hero. As an alumnus, I am obligated to post this.

  19. I can’t imagine why Tomlin got a second inning after not doing so well in the first. I was also hoping Webb would finish it. He was so close and I think he has real closer capability in him. Venters was a disaster waiting to happen. He got lucky this time. Peralta came within a hair’s width of tying the ballgame. Unless I see him for a whole inning, I continue to believe he is not either “the answer” or improved over what he was a few weeks ago.

  20. Seems like Atlanta would be a great landing spot for MadBum. We’d have a great chance to extend and he’d certainly be a candidate for signing next winter if we didn’t get him now. He’s not that old as he is only about to turn 30. He’d be a great leader and stabilizer for the staff.

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