Braves 4, Padres 1

Win, win, win.

Mike Soroka threw 7 scoreless innings, and Freddie Freeman broke open a scoreless game in the top of the 8th with a 3 run homer. Singles by Matt Joyce and Ronald Acuna Jr. preceded Freeman’s 24th. The Braves tacked on a run after the rally-killer, when Josh Donaldson walked, and got into 2 out scoring position with a belly-flopping steal of second. The Bringer of Earthquakes then scored on a Nick Markakis single.

The Padres concluded the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Touki Toussaint relieved Soroka, and 2 singles and a walk loaded the bases with 1 out. Sean Newcomb induced a foul-out, but Josh Naylor‘s 3rd hit of the game scored Fernando Tatis Jr., on base himself with the 3rd of what would be 4 hits. It was left to Chad Sobotka to strike out Hunter Renfroe with the merry-go-round in motion on a 3 – 2 count.

Soroka allowed 6 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 9. Acuna saved Mike a run or 2 in the 5th, robbing Manny Machado at the wall. A.J. Minter picked up his 5th save, allowing only a single to Tatis, but who didn’t? Cal Quantrill limited the Braves to 3 hits in his 6 innings. You can get pitch by pitch details from here.

The Braves sweep the 3 game series, and open up a 7 game lead over the Nationals. At Milwaukee Monday at 8:10 Eastern; Max Fried vs. Adrian Houser scheduled.

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.

91 thoughts on “Braves 4, Padres 1”

  1. What a game. What a series.

    Great to get a sweep on this trip – – heading into Milwaukee.

  2. Opp. Batting Stats (Min. IP 80):

    Mike Soroka holds the lowest NL OBP with .561.
    He has allowed the lowest amount of HR (4) – next lowest is 9 HR allowed and doubles (8) – next lowest is 11.

    And surprisingly the Braves are second in saves in the NL (28) only trailing the Padres.

  3. Since his 1st game on June 27 vs Atlanta Kimbrel has now pitched 4.2 innings in 5 appearances and allowed 5 runs. He may turn out to be a great long term acquisition, but so far, not so much.

    Of our final 12 games in July, we play 7 against the Nats and 3 against the Phils. A winning record against both would be nice. Let’s hope we have a shut down reliever before the end of the month.

  4. Let propose a scenario: it’s July 28th. Bryse Wilson has just thrown his third straight strong start since today. He threw a very steady 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, 2 BB, 6 H each start. Crazy. He did it @ Brewers, vs. Nats, @ Phils, as he’s scheduled to start. Your rotation is Soroka, Keuchel, Fried, Teheran, and Wilson, and you wouldn’t be removing Wilson from the rotation based on his performance if you didn’t add a pitcher. You’d want to keep throwing him.

    Do you trade for a starter? Do you move Wilson to the pen or option him to AAA? Do you go to a 6-man rotation?

  5. If there’s a frontline starter, a real difference-maker available, you go get him. At some point over the summer, Soroka and Fried are going to see their innings substantially reduced because they’ve never thrown this many major league innings before. And Touki and Newcomb and Gaus and Folty could be ready to pick up the slack, or maybe not.

    But because there are so many options for the back end of the rotation, I wouldn’t try to get an innings-eater, because that just takes innings that I’d ideally want to give to one of the young guys to push them to take a step forward. Maybe they’ll do the Blair/Wisler thing where they just spit out the bit every time they get an opportunity, but I have to believe there’s another Fried in there, a guy who’s ready to take the next step.

  6. Quite honestly, Wilson is a stopgap until Folty or Gausman get themselves straight or we trade for someone else. He may be able to string together 2 or 3 good starts in July and he may be a centerpiece of our rotation in a few years. However, in 2019, there is no way he will develop the consistency to lead us down the stretch or be on our playoff roster imo.

  7. @9 Fried is the one they are likely to need to rest. Soroka has pitched 150 innings in a season, and they have been active in trimming his load right under all our noses–in 16 starts, Soroka has averaged just 87.2 pitches. It’s a marvel that he has pitched into or through the 7th inning in 50% of those starts. They’ve done about the same with Fried, but he hasn’t thrown much more than 100 innings previously, and his innings, while on average are fewer, are more laborious than Soroka’s.

    Frankly, Fried has been showing signs of possibly needing rest for a while.

    So the Braves need to be ready to do it. Soroka should be fine to pitch 180 innings this season, but if they can save some of that for the playoffs, then of course.

    I’m also in the camp that thinks that shutting pitchers down or sparing them innings is pure superstition in action because the numbers do not show a meaningful decline in injuries as a result of limiting innings at the major league level. I’m all for saving some gas for the playoffs, though.

  8. I’m also in the camp that thinks that shutting pitchers down or sparing them innings is pure superstition in action because the numbers do not show a meaningful decline in injuries as a result of limiting innings at the major league level. I’m all for saving some gas for the playoffs, though.

    I think I’m basically right there with you. I don’t think shutting a guy down makes sense, but I absolutely believe it makes sense to save his bullets, limit his pitches. I don’t think a guy who’s cruising and pitching easily needs to throw fewer innings; the key is to make sure that he isn’t gutting out his pitches and potentially putting strain on his muscles by overexerting and overextending himself. That’s just unnecessary, seven games up and halfway through the scorching summer.

    Hell, Fried deserves to have his arm babied some, with his long list of injuries. Fried’s been a professional for seven years in the majors and minors, a starting pitcher for almost all of that time, and 2019 is just the fourth time in his professional career that he’s thrown as many as 98 innings. His all-time innings high is 118 2/3, delivered in 2013 in Single-A and in 2017 across the majors and minors. He’s going to cruise past that this year, but his left shoulder and left elbow are not used to a full season of work, and it’s a hot summer. I want to make sure he gets his work in on a regular basis, and every once in a while I don’t mind if they skip his start.

    For what it’s worth, they’ve clearly done an extraordinarily careful job of monitoring his pitches. In 18 starts this year, he has never thrown more than 101 pitches, and he’s only done that twice. In nine of his starts, he’s been between 88 and 98; in six others, he’s been between 79 and 87. Eleven of his starts have been on four days’ rest; six have been on either five or six days of rest. (His first start of the year was on three days of rest, after he threw 25 pitches out of the bullpen on March 31. His pitches were clearly on a strict cap, as he threw six sparkling innings needing just 88 pitches and was not permitted to go out for the seventh.)

  9. @12 I think we’re seeing some Anthopolous/Braves organization masterful work in action right there. Everyone posts about the innings, and I’ve been asking “Isn’t it more about the pitches thrown?” and there we see it with Soroka and Fried. I had noticed both are averaging right around 87 pitches per start.

    I’m in full agreement about preventing these guys from pressing (reaching back for a little more) late in games.

  10. @11 Right. Also Soroka is throwing the second least pitches per inning in the NL (min 80 IP).

  11. I love their pitch monitoring. You could be limited to throwing 5 innings a start and still hit 100 pitches every time out. Pitch count watch is a much more useful tool to me in keeping the stress on arms to a minimum.

  12. How do we know if the pitch count stuff is working? There’s no way to prove anything.

  13. @16 I just think it is better measure of workload than innings if that is something that a team is trying to keep an eye on

  14. @16 You’re not wrong. In fact, I don’t expect it to have a significantly meaningful impact on injury rate, but there is one thing it very logically should do. It should save some gas along the way. If nothing else, it can’t hurt that our guy will have saved a game (or two) worth of pitches by year’s end by averaging so few pitches per game.

  15. So, Braves Journal is pretty insulated from the rest of the internet, for which I will always appreciate and be protective of. One of my other passions, the James Bond books and movies, “leaked” (I guess?) that ::SPOILER HERE SO DON’T READ THIS IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW:: in the beginning of Bond 25, the upcoming Bond film, Bond leaves the service and is living in Jamaica quietly. Since he is no longer 007, 007 is reassigned to another agent. That agent happens to be a character played by the black woman Lashana Lynch. So in many corners of the internet, this news is not being received… well. Now, for me, it doesn’t matter who has been reassigned 007 while James Bond left it unoccupied, so I don’t really care, but… the internet is a dark, dark place, and that’s why I’m happy, for Braves stuff, Braves Journal exists.

  16. @17, yes I agree with that, my thing is that overall I’m not sure that “monitoring” by any measure is going to have provably better outcomes than just letting them pitch with little to no constraints.

    If they get hurt even when on pitch or innings limits, then you’d conclude that it didn’t help much. If they don’t get hurt then you can’t say for sure that it was due to monitoring/limits. That’s the problem I have with it. It’s just there to make everyone feel good.

  17. The gentle gift of being able to widen the realm of things about which I simply do not care has been one of the greatest blessings of getting older.

    Pop culture did me the single solid that my childhood self could have wanted — it adapted the Lord of the Rings into three great movies. That’s all I needed, and I don’t even care that they’re currently giving LOTR the Star Wars treatment of hammering the IP into the cold, dead dirt of lukewarm, streaming mediocrity. PgDn, will not watch, do not care. It’s so relaxing.

  18. @20

    If Soroka threw Avery’s earlier career inning totals — 210.1 IP at age 21, 233.2 at 22, 223.1 at 23 — we’d be concerned. And that’s just the common sense, non-scientific answer to whether or not Soroka should just be unleashed.

  19. I don’t know for sure that overuse got Avery hurt. Nobody does. At least we got to use his best years on the MLB team rather than wasting all his bullets in the minors.

  20. @20 I agree with you.. I mean, players get hurt on pitch #75 in spring training so it is totally unpredictable. That being said, I don’t mind keeping pitch counts down but I am also unsure if it helps or not. Heck, Nolan Ryan threw a ton of pitches throughout his career and I don’t remember many (if any) arm problems he had

  21. Maddux threw more early innings than Avery. It all seems like a crapshoot to me. Mechanics and genetics. Can’t just be something simple like pitch-limits.

  22. I don’t think it’s totally unpredictable, I just think that for us fans it is, because we don’t have their medicals or any of the kind of advanced biometrics research that teams have been doing on their own.

    It can both be true that some people are unusually healthy and some people are unusually injury-prone, and also that there are things you can do to minimize risk.

  23. I don’t buy into shutting pitchers down or limiting innings fully, but I do think there are situations. I always try to look at how a guy pitches, and not how much. Is his delivery violent? Does he pitch with a lot of effort? Injuries are so random, but those would seem to be the biggest contributors, I’d think.

    I’m not the least bit worried about Sororka. I say let him go the rest of the way.

    Fried’s a bit different because he has had so many arm issues, though. I’d be concerned taking him past 150 innings, and think he’d be a prime candidate to be skipped a few times in the rotation in favor of Gausman, Folty or a frontline acquisition.

  24. @8

    My barber thinks Wilson is being showcased and we move him to Arizona with Inciarte and Gohara for Zack Greinke

    Yona is also being showcased. He is going to Toronto with Tucker Davidson and Alex Jackson for Ken Giles and Daniel Hudson

  25. Soroka’s already missed time in each of the last two years related to shoulder stuff, and shoulders are way harder to repair than elbows if anything seriously tears. I am at least as worried about him as his mom is. He’s our precious angel, he’s the future of our rotation, and I never want to take his beautiful arm for granted.

  26. @31 Flags fly forever, man. Use him till that shoulder flies off this year. If it’s gonna fly, it’s gonna fly. Might as well use it while it still matters!

  27. Soroka only gets rest if we have a good lead late. I could see going 6-7 man rotation in September if the Nats and Phillies fall off.

  28. I know flags fly forever, but I’d rather be a fan of the Braves from 1991-2005 than the Marlins during the same years, even though the Fish won two World Series to our one. As a fan, I want my team to be competitive every year. So while I’m fine with trading prospects for veterans, I’d like to preserve a core for years to come.

  29. No clue what they do with the rotation this year. Doesn’t seem to be a true ‘impact starter’ out there as a rental. No 1998 Randy Johnson or 2008 CC Sabathia.

    Do you get a sturdy, non-elite rental like MadBum, or give up more for a solid but not elite longer term arm like Stroman.

    What I am certain about is going after Gerrit Cole this offseason. Braves need a topline starter. He’s the only topline starter available as a free agent. It makes too much sense and only costs money.

  30. @40

    Some of us missed you, you know…no news, no forwarding address…I was beginning to worry that your memorable MEDLEN POST had got the better of you. In any event, it’s nice to have you back.

  31. Smitty’s Barber
    is still inclined to harbor
    the darker secrets of exchanges
    up/down, over the top, no limit to the territory he ranges.

  32. @41 Sometimes it’s best to go out on a high note.

    I am looking forward to having McCann catch Fried so I won’t be tempted to blame Flowers if he does poorly.

  33. According to the broadcast, Acuna has the 5th-most home runs since last year’s All-Star break.

  34. I’m flipping back and forth, watching Blake Snell and the Rays and Fried and the Braves. I wait patiently for the days where Fried arrives fully. He won’t be Snell, but he’ll be really good.

  35. This inning is a big challenge for Fried, but he has a good shot at getting through 6 if he can.

    I’m still scared of Milwaukee’s pen.

  36. Fried is looking a lot better tonight. I think the extra days off did well for him. I wonder if it might make sense to have a 6 man rotation where the 4th spot was held by two guys (who might get as much as 8 days between starts) and the 5th spot was skipped any time there was an off day. Soroka, Keuchel, and Teheran could go on regular rest and guys like Fried, Wilson, and ??? could go on extended rest.

  37. Max is a really good fielder, too. He’s rated pretty highly on FG for his defense.

  38. Please settle a debate: should it bother either a Braves fan or a baseball fan overall that Freddie seemingly gets along with the vast majority of players who come see him at first base?

  39. @57 No, Dale Murphy is dead wrong on that one (he recently wrote about this in The Athletic). Certainly doesn’t seem to hurt Freddie’s performance on the field.

  40. Tomlin and his era over 4 should only be an innings eater when we are way up or way down. Never in a leverage situation

  41. @61. Tomlin saved our bacon with four scoreless innings of relief against the Nats in the game that Soroka was hit in the forearm and had to come out.

  42. @57 – Not at all. This isn’t football. Nobody thinks Freddie is trying any less hard because he’s friendly. He even seems to like Harper.

  43. @59 Apparently, Ronald is still working on his leaps and timing.

    @57 Absolutely not. Even corporate rivals in industry can be friendly. Personally, all competitors should be able to keep competition separate from personal relationships. The spirit of good sportsmanship is embodied in being able to enjoy other competitors as friends. Behavior like Freddie’s provides a lesson we could all learn in other walks of life (like politics).

  44. BMac has more off the wall singles than the rest of the league combined. Woo! Bloop it in, Austin!

  45. Incredible job by the offense to pick up the bullpen and start to build the lead back.

  46. McCann continues to be able to stretch those doubles into singles. I still think he’s a great argument for a designated runner.

  47. Ronald has been a very good center fielder and getting better. Perhaps he should have caught that one, but don’t forget the one yesterday high in the wall that very few would have caught.

  48. I keep waiting for BMac to go out to the mound and tell Sobotka to throw one at the bull.

  49. We’ve missed quite a few opportunities to pile on tonight. Hope that doesn’t bite us.

  50. @80 Contrast that reliever performance with one of ours. Burch Smith gave up a double and two walks. Of course, he also struck out the side.

    I think we need to stop expecting that relievers can or will be perfect. If they don’t give up runs, that’s all I care about. For the last two months, the Braves have the best bullpen in the National League (at least)…..

  51. Anyone wanna complain about Luke tonight? No? Good. He is our closer. At least for now.

    21 games over .500 was the best we ever did last year. We are at least 5 games ahead of where we were.

  52. @57

    There was one individual tonight who did something that so infuriated Freddie he used the hitter of the screamer to the second base area as his mouthpiece…Hiura’s hit just to the side of Ozzie prompted only an empty ole, not a sign of any body behind the ball.

    ‘You should have been out’ said the great man,
    visibly angry. Ozzie got the message, he couldn’t miss it. Never again I bet.

  53. The Mona Lisa? Monet’s Water Lillies? Van Gogh’s Starry Night? What’s your favorite out of all the thousands of Masterpieces of creative art over the centuries?

    They now all must take second place behind what we were privileged to watch tonight. Lucas Jackson comes from the humble origins of the DFA School. Tonight he overwhelmed with every pitch, nothing dared be wasted. Beauty in a medium Van Gogh would have immediately understood.

    He is now in the pantheon.

  54. According to Snit, Fried has a “pretty bad” blister in his left index finger. I’d be surprised if he makes his next start.

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