It was a week of firsts in the sports world. The St Louis Blues won their first chance for their player’s kids to Pee In The Most Sacred Trophy In Sports this summer. The Toronto Raptors stuck enough pins into their Warriors voodoo dolls to take The Least Sacred Trophy In Sports back to Canada for the first time, where 93% of Canadians will wonder why the Raptor’s kids don’t get to pee in it. And, most importantly, the Braves and the Phillies matched up for the first of 16 games that will most likely decide who will win the NL East this year.
Max Fried toed the rubber for Atlanta, matched up against Nick Pivetta. Both hurlers shut down the opposition in the 1st inning. But in the second Fried started a slow motion meltdown. It started with three straight Phillies’ singles, plating Jay Bruce for Philly’s first run. Josh Donaldson answered that back on the first pitch in the bottom of the frame, launching his tenth homer of the year to tie it back up.
In the top of the 3rd, Philly took the lead, with a Jean Segura infield single, followed by a Bryce Harper two run bomb. In the bottom of the 3rd, Atlanta tried to answer, with Fried working a 13(!) pitch walk and Ronald Acuna Jr. singling. But Dansby Swanson struck out on three breaking balls, Freddie Freeman flied out to DEEP center, and Donaldson grounded out to end the threat.
After working that walk, Fried got involved in the pitching end of a long AB to start the 4th, with Scott Kingery ultimately victimizing him for a 10 pitch at bat that ended with a solo homer. 4-1, Bad Guys. Atlanta squandered another chance in the bottom of the frame, with Austin Riley being thrown out at second on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play, one pitch after Brian McCann should’ve walked but the umpire disagreed.
Onto the 5th, where Fried ran into two out trouble. A single to J.T. Realmuto was followed by a Rhys Hoskins walk. Fried wild pitched them to second and third, and with his pitch count nearing 100 pitches, he unleashed another wild pitch on a 3-2 count to Jay Bruce which scored Realmuto. Dan Winkler came on to strike out Kingery to end the frame. Winkler did provide some comic relief in the bottom of the inning when he successfully laid down a sacrifice with his eyes closed. However an Acuna flyball and a Swanson groundout stranded Ozzie Albies at third.
Winkler was efficient in the 6th, needing just nine pitches to retire the side in order. And on the bottom of the frame Freddie Freeman led off his a solo homer to cut the lead to 3. But Winkler wasn’t as sharp in the 7th. He walked Segura to lead off, but got Harper to ground into a double play. However, an Albies error put Realmuto on, and Hoskins followed that up with a two run bomb to push the lead back to five.
But, these are the Braves, and it’s never a good idea to stop watching (or, in my case, fall asleep.) BMac led off the inning with Atlanta’s third solo shot to cut the lead to 7-3. A two out Acuna double was followed by a Swanson walk to chase Pivetta. FF5 singled off Vince Velasquez to make it a three run game again.
Philly played some Joe Simpson Small Ball in the top of the 8th off Josh Tomlin, with a Kingery double, a Sean Rodriguez sac fly, and a Cesar Hernandez sac fly plating their 8th run. But Atlanta wouldn’t go away, with Nick Markakis singling, moving to second on a comebacker by BMac, and scoring on an Albies single. Charlie Culberson then tripled in Ozzie to cut the lead to two at 8-6.
Snit then inserted Jerry Blevins in to pitch the ninth. What could go wrong? Well, a lead off walk to Segura to start. But Harper struck out, and Realmuto grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Segura. But Hoskins walked and Realmuto stole third bringing up Bruce. But Blevins induced a pop fly to Ozzie, setting us up for the second best bottom of the 9th of the night (after the Padres’ six run outburst to tie their game about five hours before I write this). Dansby singled off Hector Neris to lead off the inning. FabFiveFreddie struck out, but Swanson advanced to second on a Donaldson ground ball to third base. Markakis walked, and Austin Riley doubled home Lt. Dans to make it 8-7. BMac then walked the Braves off with a looping fly ball that just managed to get down into left center giving the Braves a win in a game that they shouldn’t have won. But, this team has demonstrated a trait for winning games they shouldn’t for the two plus years that Brian Snitker has managed them. We’ll take it. 2 and a half up in the division now, with Sean Newcomb set to start against Aaron Nola. Let’s play Game Two!
That’s where urinary Olympiad came from. Who knew?
Thanks, Seat Painter. I quit on the team and went to sleep. In keeping with your theme, only my old man’s bladder let me see our final two at bats. Aging ain’t all bad.
Thank you, Seat Painter, beautiful recap for a beautiful game.
Looking forward to having Keuchel in the rotation.
Seat Painter…you masterfully recreated the 7th, 8th and 9th innings for us in impeccable order…in bed an hour after everything had happened they were already in a confused jigsaw i could not stick together…then, this morning, voila! thank you
the aging bladders strike and, having struck, retire.
say thank you, from us both. Cheers.
That was a pretty impressive home run from Harper. Definitive, no messing or posturing, controlled raw power. Maybe 233 million then- too late, too little you say?
“But, this team has demonstrated a trait for winning games they shouldn’t for the two plus years that Brian Snitker has managed them.”
Can’t say it any better than that.
Brian McCann sure had a day, didn’t he?
@6 – and at the beginning, the set of games they shouldn’t be winning was… *all* of them.
The Phillies aren’t that good.
The Phillies aren’t bad. Their lineup has an impressive set of boppers. The addition of Harper and Realmuto did help them a lot, Hoskins is very good, and Kingery is coming into his own. But the pitching has been meh and the defense is deplorable.
If Nola and Arrietta have strong second half’s and Pivetta pitches like he has the last few starts, they will stay in it.
The Braves offense is fantastic, they are light years better than the Phils on defense, but there are still a lot of question marks for the pitching.
I love this Braves team, and I’m looking forward to a great pennant race.
Their bench sucks. Their starting lineup has two black holes and two others that aren’t anything special. It’s not a bad team because of the players you listed. But its poorly balanced. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they fade away.
SeatPainter, excellent recap. Thanks.
@9 Well put. Agree completely.
I watched this entire game (well, ok, except the 1st inning) and I kept having this creeping feeling all night that it was gonna be one of the 8-7 losses where I end up muttering about 2 unearned runs and everyone piling on Winkler after he put in his longest stint of the year in decent fashion. Same feeling especially after Freddie and Josh went down. I still can’t get over that we won – still hyped. I agree that this team is worth the love.
The fact that Nick “owns” Neris tells me that, even though Neris’ slider is great, it only plays out of the zone. If you don’t swing at it, it’s almost always a ball – or at least was tonight. As soon as Neris throws anything in the zone, it’s hittable.
That’s what impressed me so much about Riley tonight. He has had a lot of times recently where it looked like he had no idea where the ball was pitched and was just swinging at everything. I thought he was a dead duck against Neris. But what he did on that last pitch – looking for the outside bend and lowering his whole center of gravity to get it – was an adjustment that was welcome to see and tell me he’s already starting to mature as a hitter. There’s real hope he can continue this performance over the long haul.
BMac is something else. He is playing with pure joy at where he is and what he’s doing and who he’s doing it with. I cannot fathom any possible signing that was better than that one – not because he’s the God of Baseball or something but because he’s adding just a pinch of special to the team this year. I hope they rehire him as a coach when he retires and he can teach Langeliers or Contreras to be BMac 2.0.
As great as last night’s win was (and thanks, Seat Painter) I was sort of looking forward to a season where we lost every game to the Phillies but still finished ahead of them in the standings. With that dream vanquished, we might as well sweep them.
Watching the highlights again. This was an extraordinary win. They kept coming back after the Phillies added on runs after runs. Just absolutely remarkable.
Agree about Riley. I’ll admit when it got to two strikes i figured he had no chance at another of those splitters. But a remarkable piece of hitting.
Thanks braves14. I went through and read the game thread comments of The Good Phight.
Every time you’re feeling down about your team, it should be required reading to read the game threads of gut-wrenching losses of your rivals. Notable highlights:
“I would be immensely proud if I were a Braves fan. That team is showing serious grit.”
“I like Kaplar but if keys making dumb decisions he needs to go.”
“Gabe has nobody to play LF or CF in the late innings. Who was he going to use tonight? Rodriguez? Because they have a DH playing LF and a infielder playing CF. Its the one attribute Quinn could give them, whenever they decide he’s wasted enough time playing in minor league rehab games. He can play defense in one of those spots in the late innings. Leaving them with one minus defender in the OF, instead of 2.” (And we complain about our bench…)
“Neris showed tonight (and has shown before) why he’s not and won’t ever be a true lock down closer.” (He’s literally their only healthy and effective reliever.)
“I was pretty firmly on the dont trade the prospects train.
But I have now switched to the we need reinforcements train. I’m looking at some of the players the Tigers have, and I wonder if we could do a blockbuster deal for LHP Matthew Boyd, RHP Shane Greene and CF JaCoby Jones.”
They have 2 top 60 prospects, according to MLB. Their top prospect is #49 Alec Bohm, who is in High A. You have to pass #13 Cristian Pache, #26 Kyle Wright, #27 Ian Anderson, and #30 Austin Riley. Oh, and #23 Sixto Sanchez. :))))))
Looking at BMac’s walk-off hit again, I’m thinking they were trying to pitch around him to get to Albies, but Mac just took a bad pitch and put it in the perfect spot in left center.
The Good Phight has a great podcast. It’s worth listening to whenever there’s a series with the Phils.
Whenever Brian McCann retires, he will have a far better Hall of Fame case than Dale Murphy, Joe Torre-as-a-hitter-only, and frankly, Rabbit Maranville. Every Braves fan will need to get their fingers ready make him the next Jack Morris or Jim Rice in the Hall.
Well, if you like fWAR and buy into Fangraphs recently including pitch-framing as a bigger component of fWAR, then McCann has a much better Hall of Fame case than Murph. Mac’s sitting at 56 fWAR and Murph is at 44. If he can finish the year healthy, he will move into 8th all-time in catcher fWAR behind Joe Torre. Piazza had 63.9, Torre had 62.3, and McCann would be next as long as he amasses another 0.3 fWAR and gets to 56.2 fWAR. He would be passing Bill Dickey, who is a Hall of Famer. No one behind McCann, though, is in the Hall of Fame, though Yady might get in someday.
@20 – Your periodic reminder that the problem with having 13 pitchers is that sooner or later you will use them.
@21 – I think you’re onto something there. If one or two outlier mad schemer front offices (Tampa +1) go with the “bullpenning” strategy, they can make it work by finding hidden gem relievers and leveraging them in unexpected ways. If the entire league attempts to bullpen the game, you suddenly realize how thin the pool of “professional pitchers who can truly succeed above AAA” really is.
used to have more than we thought we’d ever need
but of late his deception has been minimal
and so our thoughts trend toward the subliminal.
@22 – For example, in 2018 the Braves used *thirty-four* different pitchers, not counting Charlie Culberson. Some of those were mid-season acquisitions, but the Braves were trusting Major League innings to what? – the 20th best guy in the organization? 25th?
I really think ideas like the Gwinnett shuttle are going to fall out of favor, and in a couple of seasons it will swing back to everybody hunting 4 – 5 starters who can go 7 – 8 innings consistently.
Winkler sent to AAA. Ynoa recalled.
should he get lost in his car
en route to the field like Pascual
he’ll still be an improvement over Winkler with respect to pitching the ball.
New post and thread.