I have become convinced that one of the pernicious evils that the 1994 baseball strike has inflicted on us, is the Tyranny of the Long Ball. Think about it for a minute. After Cal Ripken Jr passed Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive game streak, MLB needed something to continue its recovery of popularity after pissing off the fans by cancelling the ’94 World Series (and coincidentally, saving the Braves consecutive division streak in the process, as if the season had played out, the Braves would’ve gotten run by the Expos. THAT team was dynamite. But, I digress.). And the decision to juice the ball to emphasize the home run has had knock on effects that have probably permanently changed the game. Now, I won’t yell at you kids to get off my lawn, because dadgummit, watching your team’s starting infield launch 5 dingers in a game against one of their main divisional rivals sure is fun. And that surge in homer happy hitters (man it sure is early to alliterate, sorry, digression), has led to teams looking for power pitchers to combat the swing for the fences mentality. Of course, while not always true, velocity and command don’t always pair together.
And that is one of the main Unintended Consequences of the Juiced Ball Era – that we have witnessed the near extinction of The Pitcher’s Duel. Seems like every day we get a lot of 7-4 or 8-6 scores. But, last night, the Braves and Pure Evil hooked up in a classic 1-0 game that would’ve been right home back in the 1950’s.
The Marlins ran out their rookie pitching sensation, Jordan Yamamoto, who has been channeling his inner Greg Maddux since being called up. Atlanta countered with Julio Teheran, who was coming off three bad starts after two months of pitching well. But, Julio was facing a team he has controlled, with 12 scoreless innings spread over two starts.
Yamamoto was as advertised. Holding down a potent Braves lineup with an unpredictable array of pitches, ranging from a lollipop 70 mph curve ball to 95 mph heat on the corner. He kept the Braves batsmen off balance by mixing up his pitches, aided no dobt by the fact that there wasn’t much of a ‘Book’ on him. Perhaps after two months in the league, he will be more hittable, but last night he really was sharp. He held the Braves hitless through 4 2/3 innings, walking Josh Donaldson in the 2nd, before Brian McCann finally reached on a single. The only real trouble he faced was in the bottom of the 6th, when he walked Matt Joyce to lead off the inning, and then surrendered a single to Ronald Acuna Jr. for a no out men on first and second situation. However, Ozzie Albies hit a hard groundball to first, which the Fish turned into a nifty 3-6-1 double play. An intentional walk to Freddie Freeman brought Donaldson up, but he grounded weakly back to the pitcher.
Julio, on the other hand, was pulling off his Julio Joudini act most of the night. Julio started by giving up singles in the first to Curtis Granderson with one out, and another single to Neil Walker with two down, but retired Starlin Castro to end the threat. Jorge Alfaro led off the second with yet another single, but was erased on a double play. Yamamoto led off the third with yet another hit, singling to center. He advanced to second when Miguel Rojas grounded to short. Johan Camargo made a fantastic play going to his right to retire Rojas, who was initially called safe, but replay reversed the call when it showed Claude’s throw nipped him by at most two millimeters. A two out walk was followed by Julio going to 3-2 to Walker, but Walker struck out looking on a borderline pitch. Which was probably ball 4, but we’ll take it. There were a number of irritated batters last night with the home plate umpire’s zone.
That seemed to settle down Julio, who retired the next 8 Marlins hitters, until Walker coaxed a two out walk in the top of the 6th. Starlin Castro then doubled down the left field line, and Walker was held at third on a questionable decision by Miami third base coach Fredi Gonzalez (yep, the very same). Austin Riley did not play the ball well, and Walker probably should have scored, especially as there were two outs, but Gonzalez threw up the stop sign. See, those of you who were worried that Fredi would be making terrible calls at Sun Trust were right. He does. Good for us he’s in Miami now and not in the first base dugout. Julio then managed to coax a fly ball to center from Alfaro to wiggle off yet another hook.
The 7th inning saw both teams turn to their bullpens. Touki Toussaint struck out the side, issuing a two out walk, and Miami responded with Austin Brice, who gave up a one out single to Riley but otherwise was as dominant as Touki.
Then the rains came. Let’s just say that the rest of this recap is based off the MLB.com condensed game video, because the game didn’t restart until about 12 AM this morning. Or something. I was asleep by that time. So, sue me. I’m old.
Anyhow, appearantly A.J. Minter worked around a two out single to Walker, and the Braves couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the 8th. Luke Jackson gave up a lead off double to Alfaro in the 9th, but struck out the next two batters before getting Brian Anderson to fly out to deep left. Atlanta got its own lead off double in the bottom of the 9th, when Fab Five Freddie doubled off the left center wall. Donaldson was intentionally walked, and Nick Markakis advanced them with a swinging bunt. Riley got the second intentional base on balls to load them up for BMac. McCann lined the first pitch he saw from Jose Quijada into left for the walk off single and the 1-0 win.
So, the win, coupled with the gNatspos loss to Kansas City, pushes the Bravo’s divisional lead back to 6.5 over Philly. Max Fried looks to close out his sparkling first half on a high note this afternoon against Caleb Smith. Let’s hope the bats are a little more awake than they were last night.
Even though the Marlins stink, those are the kind of games you usually end up losing. Btw, my thought is the Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros have a good shot at winning 100 or more games. The Orioles better start soon – they have to win their remaining 75 games in a row to win 101.
So, Td, you’re saying the O’s have a little wiggle room in their quest for 100 wins?
Yep. Crazy thing is Tampa Bay is in position for the 1st wildcard in the American league, but the Orioles are averaging about 2,000 more per game in average attendance.
Great recap, Ancient One. Thank you.
Baseball in the sun today. How quaint.
That play by Camargo was absolutely sensational. Dude has a hose.
Yamamoto looks like he could be pretty good. Any time we can escape Hibernation Mode with a win, feels like we got a little bonus.
Even against the Fish, Teheran’s whole night was a tightrope act. Games against the Marlins count just as much as the others, so glad he has a good outing to build off of.
Marlins’ SP aren’t complete dumpster fires. That’s the one major league-ish quality unit on their roster. I’m sure a lot of Marlins fans at this point would say that Yamamoto joins Alcantara and Richards as 3 decent starters, if there were any Marlins fans.
Camargo now on pace for about 300 PAs. Still probably not enough, but better than before. As both fan and critic, I find Camargo’s playing time something I’m watching in the second half.
DOB has an article up at The Athletic about how our fans don’t seem to like Donaldson. Why do you guys think he’s unpopular with a certain segment? Is it simply him getting paid $23M per and his performance or is it more his persona?
Florida MLB franchises are likely DOOMED, aren’t they? Maybe the Braves can become the local team down here again.
Donaldson started slowly in the first couple months, so I think he committed the sin of talking the talk without walking the walk.
But now that he’s hitting, I think Braves Nation is slowly coming around (which DOB notes, toward the end of that Athletic piece).
Plus, he was only ever gonna be about the fifth most popular Brave, after Freddie, Acuña Jr., Albies, and McCann.
On a different note, if you can, spare a thought for Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, who’s been out for much of the year and just revealed he’s being treated for leukemia.
From Andres Galarraga to Jon Lester, a lot of cancer survivors have gone on to enjoy tremendous success on the field, and I hope he plays another decade in the bigs.
I think Donaldson’s popularity is also limited by the fact that everyone knows he is a one year only deal. The others AAR mentions are long term quantities. Also one of the most visible failures by any player is strikeouts and Donaldson is among the league leaders.
He is playing well and actually one of our better defenders. But watching him K AB-after-AB is pretty frustrating even though he has a top 50 OBP and walks a lot.
@9: Alex has got it. This team is loaded with loveable players like Acuña, Albies, Freeman, etc. Donaldson has a sort of mercenary quality about him and he’s unlikely to be here next year, so I think fans are naturally distant towards him.
Funny thing is I was on the way back home last night. Game was 0-0 bottom of the 7th when we took off. When we landed 2.5 hours later it was 0-0 bottom of the 8th and I thought my phone or the Internet was broken or the battery was dead. I got home about 15 minutes after BMac’s walk-off. Was a nice welcome home gift.
At least you got to see most of the game, SP. Thanks for the good writeup.
Even if the Fish had scored the one run, I’m betting two would have scored on the BMac single or, with the bases loaded and one out, a subsequent SF would have won it anyway.
an old fashioned recap beautifully constructed till that moment the rains overcame you and left you to your dreams…
then a stirring recovery, you knew where to find the finale, and we were home and dry…thanks.
The Braves are now 3 games ahead of last year’s pace. Last year, after 89 games, they were 50-39 and tied for 1st with a whole lot of losing coming over the next three weeks. If we were to just finish the rest of July .500, we’d be way ahead of last year’s team.
If we add anyone productive at the deadline, this team will be a lock for mid-90s wins.
Note: I am still on the MadBum train, not because he will be an “ace” but because he has a knack for beating the Dodgers and winning big playoff games.
The Dodgers are the problem. They stick out a mile even at this distance in time. It seems perfectly logical at this stage to say it would be easier to beat the AL champions, Yankees or whomever, than the Dodgers. So is it MadBum time, logically?
Not so sure madBum still has LA’s number. So far this year he’s 1-3 against the Dodgers, with 2 very good starts (one 6 IP, 4H, 1R, one 7 IP, 4H, 1R taking a tough luck loss) and 2 bad starts (6 IP 5h, 5R, and one 3.2 IP, 10H, 6R).
Maybe he’d benefit from the adrenaline of a pennant race here in Atlanta, or maybe he’s toast. His WHIP isn’t out of line from his career norms, so maybe there’s something left in the tank, but I’m not sure AA is willing to pay what SF is surely going to demand to find out.
…our very best to him.
@1 I think that’s right. He also replaced a fairly popular player.
@19 Exactly. Just the sheer fact that he’s a one-year hired gun who replaced Camargo is bad enough. It also could be possible that Donaldson is also getting lumped in with Camargo not getting enough playing time.
True. Keep in mind that there’s this fading big-time star who parachuted into a job that had been earned by an underdog who had fought his way to it. It’s the whole narrative.
Yep. JD is winning me over, but I really want Claude to get multiple at bats almost daily.
Well done, Professor Painter.
And thanks to all for chiming in on the lack of Donaldson love, which I now understand, even as I disagree.
My wife, BTW, simply dislikes his hair.
@23 I love Josh, War Eagle, etc, but the hair is yikes.
Thanks for the wonderful recap, Seat Painter!!
AA will have to pay a high price to get what the team needs, which is a TOR arm. I’m doubtful he is going to make that kind of move, or that the right fit is even available, unfortunately. It will take an awful lot of luck to get past a team like the Dodgers with the rotation as it currently exists, and I don’t think MadBum is enough.
the narrative sours
his playing time can be measured in hours
we remember Mama Camargo
his arm, her smile, the benign virago.
Come on, Max. Throw strikes please.
Looking at the stats, Keuchel pitches best on 4 days rest, so I suppose that is why they are not giving him an extra day. Plus he hasn’t had a heavy workload yet obviously.
I thought they might give Soroka an extra day of rest instead of 4 days after the ASG and start Fried the 14th. Maybe they want to start 2 LHPs against Milwaukee.
Does JD have a hit when swinging 3-0? How about a hard hit ball?
After our opening assault Mattingley might be well advised, having tried 5 infielders last night, to change horses and go for 5 outfielders this afternoon.
Woo Hoo speed from Alfaro to first. Catcher?
Not that it matters but that was a complete boot by Freddie but they gave Smith a hit
Well done, Max. Nice escape.
The Marlins announcers are saying that Fried is throwing between 97-99 mph. Overthrowing?
Like how Fried looks tonight. Some bad luck on hit placement and that fluke homer, but otherwise he’s working fast and seems to have an idea of what he wants to do against this lineup.
Yeah, they never give the infielder an error on a ball that hard-hit but it was right to Freddie and he should’ve gotten it. That ought to have been an E3.
THE HUMAN CHEAT CODE!
Smith may turn it around and a few batters haven’t looked good but the Braves look like they are taking batting practice against him for the most part.
Pretty good third base play right there.
The good Lord forgive me. I had intended a firm post this morning decrying the pat-a-cake power of our two young sluggers. Where was the beef I would ask? Emphatically.
Good play, Nick.
Chip, that pitch was at the bottom of the zone doofus. It wasn’t “up.”
Even though he was not called up until May 15, given his games played and the games remaining on the schedule, Riley is still on pace for 40 homers by year end. He’s not quite on the torrid pace he was to start. But he seems to be making enough adjustments to the league starting to have a ‘book’ on him that he is still very much an offensive force. He’s at 906 OPS. Second on the team behind Freddie among regulars. And he appears to be getting better in the outfield also.
Good play, Fish.
I will be shocked if Smith lasts 5 innings. Over 50 high stress pitches in 3 innings, a lot of hard hit balls, and 4 runs so far. Just need Fried to settle down.
Fried has given up 9 hits now. I don’t see him going much farther than 5.
More 2 strike hits given up by our pitchers. Is it poor pitch calling, poor location or bad luck? Or all of it?
Oy, trouble afoot.
Seems like Max doesn’t have the curveball command over his last few starts like he did earlier in the season
Fried has been far more effective vs LHB than RHB for the season as one might expect.
Fried’s WHIP the last two months is north of 1.60. It’s time to worry about him.
That curve is a hanger sometimes. Max needs to rest of the break I think.
@17 MadBum would benefit from Atlanta’s offense.
The break will help Max as much as any of our kids. Get the lead back here, and he’s a winner today.
I was surprised to see him hit, however.
I’m not a fan of Tyler’s pitch calling.
Gaaaaaaah I wanted that to go out for him
Wasn’t it a Fredi thing to let the pitcher hit the inning before and pull him 2 hitters in? Not sure why we didn’t PH him and go to our 9-man pen.
@46: I lost my money too.
Fried is only about 5 innings short of his highest innings total post TJS. I know AA said he doesn’t care about innings caps, but one has to wonder if he can handle starting for 2 and a half more regular season months.
58 — I’m sure the reasoning is that Dansby is unavailable and there are only 2 non-catchers on the bench.
I blame the pitch calling.
Either I was terribly wrong about Smith or the Braves have helped him out a lot. I think it’s a little of both.
Is it my imagination or did Fried just pinch hit for himself?
It’s going to be tough to keep guys like Keuchel who like regular rest on a regimen, but hopefully they can structure off-days and even a 6-man rotation to give Soroka and Fried either additional rest or skipping starts. But you have Wilson, Gausman is rehabbing as a starter, Folty is still Folty, and maybe even Touki emerges as an option.
But if Soroka and Fried make a start every even 6 days, and they pitch 5 IP per start, they’re looking at around 180 IP+ seasons plus the playoffs. Not sure how that can work.
Did someone juice the Marlins Wheaties or something? I didn’t think they could hit like this.
65 — It shows that they need a healthy Gausman and Folty to figure things out. Or someone else not in the organization.
Opponents are scoring 6.43 runs per game in Flowers’ last seven starts, for what it’s worth.
I’ve heard that Fried’s ERA is notably lower when McCann is behind the dish.
Don’t have the individual numbers on Fried, but for all ATL pitchers coming into today, the pitcher ERA with Flowers was 4.54. It’s 3.78 for McCann.
They’re hitting them where we ain’t.
Found it via twitter. https://twitter.com/BravesMattC/status/1147624562902929408
Flowers: 4.65 ERA in 50.1 IP, .314/.350/.473
McCann: 3.32 ERA in 43.1 IP, .218/.301/.340
I don’t think Flowers brings anything defensively to the table besides pitch framing. His 2 strike pitch calling is especially bad
Flowers has had a rough day at bat as well.
Awaken, bats! Rain vengeance upon the Marlins.
Looking for a Freeman homerun.
Almost an RBI single- I’ll take it
Ozzie!! Hit, young man. Just go right on and hit! Woo!
Keep the line moving, Freddie.
Please no double play.
Darn. Ozzie needs one more HR for his 15th.
I feared that was coming.
Cannot believe they did score there with that near home run and a solid single with the fastest runner on the team standing on second.
Not Tyler’s best day, all things considered.
Tyler brings veteran presence.
Nice. Now win it.
0-2 count… why are we throwing hittable pitches?
They can hit Romo. Let’s go, Braves!
If the Braves can’t tie or pull ahead here, it can’t be said they didn’t get their share of breaks and/or chances.
All help appreciated. Romo won’t be easy for Austin.
All up to Tyler now.
Surprised McCann isn’t hitting for Flowers.
A fitting end with Flowers up with 2 out. Not his best day
Good game, Marlins. We’re going to send you Flowers.
@96 I suggested that as part of a Realmuto trade.
What a terrible at bat, quite unsurprising. His contribution is starting to be hard to find
Is it unreasonable to expect of Donaldson, coming up with men on 1st and the tying run on third with only one out, to be thinking if i get something to drive I need more loft in my swing.
A routine fly out to CF is perfect. A ground ball smashed to the infield can be a disaster – if I get the chance i need elevation. Too difficult? I just got the impression he was preoccupied with hitting it as hard as he could, it was essentially an uncontrolled swing.
Compare to BMac’s swing to win last night – totally controlled swing achieved solid contact AND perfect elevation over the infield.
@98. But but but he’s still a top ten catcher according to advanced metrics…..
Crap like that makes me distrust those statheads.
@99 uncontrolled swing is the only way JD does it.
@99 a soft ground ball would have been better, too.
It’s definitely the hair.
Max Fried has seemed pretty average lately.
Watching Flowers come up for that last at bat I had a guilty feeling – that this was a Suzuki moment, he’s had a couple this week.
Anybody know what Evan Gattis is up to this year? I don’t see any evidence that he’s playing anywhere, nor that he’s injured.
Evan Gattis seems to have played his last game. Cool career for a guy who had to overcome so much.