I Won’t Back Down: Braves 12 – Minnyhaha 7

“You can stand me up at the Gates of Hell, but I won’t back down.” Not only one of my favorite lyrics but probably an all time great lyric. Apply that to the Braves tonight. With Folty on the mound and Culberson at SS, having lost two games in a row by the skin of our teeth and some bad luck, the mojo coming into tonight was awful. Add to that, Berrios on the mound for the Twinkies and the shMets making a move.  You’d have to feel like something has to change or this season could start to spiral. Further, a bullpen with a lot of good pitchers in total upheaval.

This is a character building moment for this team. You all know what I’m leading up, of course. One pitch; one run. Only a few players are as good or as fun to watch as our Ronald. He not only smashed a home run, but he also smashed it deep to straight CF. A statement. If that’s not enough, Freddie did the same dang thing in the top of the 3rd.  He hit a long HR to CF on the first pitch he saw. Even better, Ronald had walked and Ozzie singled in front of him. And the Braves had a 4-0 lead. I was reading a MLBTR chat where someone asked if Freddie had a good case for MVP and the answer was that he’s not even the best player on his own team.

With the added pressure to perform because of the Gausman waiver, Folty was not only under pressure to show he was back to form but also under extra pressure without a real backup plan. I’m not sure that was the best way to handle Folty’s return, but Folty made the Braves look good with two decent innings. In the third, he faced his first trouble with a walk and a single and seemed to have lost the strike zone. He also looked like he was overthrowing to compensate. The situation was set up for a classic “Folty”. But he struck out Rosario for the third out and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, he was now over 60 pitches after 3 innings.

In the 4th, it looked like they were going to continue cooking against Berrios until Inciarte tried to stretch a single unsuccessfully for the third out.  The Braves seemed primed for another mid-inning hibernation, but that ‘s not in keeping with tonight’s theme.  Acuna and Albies went right to work creating the 5th run with a single, SB, single, SB.  They proved that, tonight, we weren’t going to back down.  Then something happened which I can’t remember happening for a while.  The Braves put on a real sustained rally in the top of the 6th with two outs without a HR.  Not sure when the last time that happened was.  It went K, W, K, single, balk, single, triple (Ozzie, OK it was reee-al close to a HR), single double, single, K and 6 runs had scored.  It went on so long, I almost fell asleep…..LOL

There we were with a 11-0 lead after 5.5 innings.  All Folty had to do was give us one last zero and turn it over to a shutdown bullpen.  Easy?  NOT!!!  Folty gave up a solo shot and a 2-run HR.  Overall, Folty was solid but did not prove his gopher issues were gone with those 2 HRs.  In came Luke, who got the final two outs of the 6th but walked two before finishing.  I hoped we’d see Newk since he’s the only one who hadn’t blown up recently.  Umm, no.  Newk gave up a three run shot to Nellie Cruz.  Cruz hit the first solo shot off Folty.  Now it was 11-6 and I was reliving last Tuesday’s nightmare against the gNats.  Against the gNats, I was fortunate as I didn’t sit through the bottom of the 9th by leaving early.  Tonight I’m sitting at home watching MLBN.

The Braves did not back down and tacked on another run in the 8th.  The General came in and stanched the bleeding with the help of Culby at SS who refused to back down by making two outstanding plays easing the General’s way.  The 9th came and Greene along with it.  With the exception of another solo HR, Greene looked much better and closed the game.  This kind of game is what it’s going to take for the Braves to beat the big boys in the playoffs.  Score runs and hold leads.  Trying to win like the last two games – pitching well and coming back at the end – is not going to cut it.  The bottom of the lineup did not help (Duvall/Culby with 7 strikeouts) except for Ender.  Our best hitters must remember this night the next time they face an ace.  Don’t back down; never back down.

83 thoughts on “I Won’t Back Down: Braves 12 – Minnyhaha 7”

  1. I’m not expecting much from Riley or Camargo between now and September. It may be best to send them both to AAA to straighten things out. I can live with 3 weeks of Lucas Duda making cameo appearances.

  2. Look at the OPS for the Twins starting lineup. With that in mind you should treat pitching stats for these guys like Coors Field. It makes Folty’s start tonight even more impressive.

  3. @3 He was saucy af in the 755 is real ep they recorded today, so it’s entirely possible.

  4. @2, I didn’t watch any of the game, so just looking at the box score there’s plenty of ways to interpret last night’s start by Foltynewicz: On the good side, through five he’d only allowed four baserunners and zero runs. That sounds great! But it took him almost 100 pitches to do it. That sounds…labor intensive! In that context, that a stacked Twins lineup finally got to him in the 6th may take the sting out of him getting smacked around in that inning.

    Jury’s still out until Miami on Sunday.

  5. Watched Folty’s 5th inning. And that was a thing of beauty, the Folty of old. He was tiring in the 6th. I had actually hoped that Snit would take him out after 5, could have done wonders for his confidence.
    Anyways, great win. RAJ!

  6. Who would you rather have playing second for us – Ozzie/Altuve? I see no more Altuve light.

    He and Acuna, if they can avoid injury, stand a real chance of baseball immortality as a pair, their deep, personal friendship a glue. The contentious contracts they signed will keep them together like no other pair. Great attention and training should be provided by the club as to their safety on the bases. They are gold dust.

    And Ozzie’s doing rather well from the left side doncha’ think? Like last night.

  7. I think the fact that Folty was tiring coupled with the long top of the 6th probably cost him in the bottom of the inning. I thought he looked good for the most part and I was far more encouraged than I ever could have been with Gausman.

  8. Nelson Cruz
    at thirty nine, what word would you use?
    does this mean Nick will be much extended?
    for some it’s been over before it’s actually ended.

  9. Adam Duvall came within a whisker of his fifth strikeout last night…(what are fourth and fifth called?)

    The contrast with his very recent heroics at STP is wild enough to suggest he must have cultivated his own mushroom patch at Gwinnett whose modest harvest is now exhausted. Re-plant, Adam, then hire a gardener.

  10. Gonna find another way to remind you all about these beauties (likely a side button), but if you’re interested in purchasing one, drop a line to me at cothrjr at hotmail dot com.

  11. Kolby Allard starts on Friday for Texas.

    Travis Demeritte is 3-26 in his young Tigers career. His lone XBH was that triple from last Friday. Hopefully he gets it going.

    Joey Wentz was assigned to AA Erie where he gave up 1 run in 5 innings of his first start.

    Our relievers have given up 7 ER in 6 2/3 innings so far. Nowhere to go but up. Might as well get it all out now.

  12. Acuna is 12 HRs and 14 SBs away from a 40/40 season. If he kept his current pace for HRs and SBs across 162 games, he would reach 39.7 HRs and 36.9 SBs. So it’s not looking good for him to reach 40/40 unless he somehow got hotter than he already has been through the first 114 games of the season.

    Some interesting facts about Acuna: he has decreased his strike out rate and increased his walk rate, but his power has gotten down a good bit. After a .259 ISO in his rookie year, that is down to .219. Accordingly, his wRC+ has gone from 143 last year to 130 this year. But he is providing more value overall as his defense and baserunning have been much better. Forgive me because I don’t know what the unit of measure is called, but he’s 7th in baseball in baserunning… WAR? Whatever the counting stat on Fangraphs that is evaluating baserunning. He’s on pace for a 5.8 fWAR season.

    Also, I love him.

  13. Shutout incoming.

    Edit: Not.

  14. There you go, Adam!

    @19 I would imagine Acuna’s loss in offensive value comes from the absence of doubles—possibly a result of the new ball and the continued emphasis on launch angle? It feels like Acuna gets singles (a mix of bloops and “I’ll take a single here, thanks” swings) and when people make mistakes/he guesses right he’s just destroying them for homers. I would also guess his periodic struggles with timing fastballs is contributing to the lack of XBH production. He’s not punishing center cut fastballs consistently.

    CHARLIE!!!! Man, everyone getting in already in the first inning.

  15. @20 That could be seen as a complete loss of trust in Riley, or as a means of giving Camargo as many “show me” chances as they can before sending him down when Dansby is back.

  16. I think they’re just trying to get Camargo ABs. I see this as no less than complete agreement by AA and Snit with ME that they didn’t give Camargo enough PAs. So, really, who should be running the team?

    Check mate.

  17. I hate Tyler Flowers so much.

    At the very least, Alex Jackson would’ve struck out and given Acuna a chance.

  18. Well, while no speedster, if Mike Lowell can ground into a triple play, I suppose Tyler Flowers should be allowed to.

    Even more than ever, though, Tyler Flowers is an out machine.

  19. As it was unfolding, I was 60% mad at Flowers for hitting into a TP and 40% mad at Chip for being so excited by it.

    Go Max go. 7k’s through 3.

  20. @34 I feel like the Most 2019 Flowers Thing would be if McCann were on the basepaths somehow, and tore a ligament sliding hard into 2nd in a vain attempt to break up the triple play, thus ensuring that Flowers would go on to play as much as possible.

  21. I suppose he gets a pass.

  22. That home run he hit the other day after the game was already out of reach (after flaccidly making an out in every meaningful at-bat that had come before) was also high on the Most 2019 Flowers Thing.

  23. WOW ENDER!!!! Max struggled with his control that inning, hopefully he finds it again.

  24. Flowers brings me such despair. His offense, his defense, every time he steps to the plate I always fully expect the worst, though even then I only thought of like a double play from pitcher to home to first, not a triple play.

  25. Can no game ever be easy?

    Poor Fried. He pitched better than 3 ER in five innings. Nice Grybos, Luke.

  26. Keuchel, Folty and Fried all were left in too long this time through the rotation. Each of them struggled the 3rd TTO. In the postseason, nobody other than Soroka should be allowed to make it more than twice through the order barring a dominant performance — and even then it should be a quick hook.

  27. Listen, not poor Fried. He threw 94 pitches in 5.1 IP. Sean Newcomb had a 3.90 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 7.5 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, and a 4.4 BB/9 last year, and they didn’t let him stay in the rotation with his friends. Fried has a 4.07 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 9.7 H/9, 1.2 HR/9, and 2.8 BB/9. If Fried can’t throw strikes and he’s too hittable, then he can’t stay with his friends either.

  28. Obviously he’s going to be in the rotation for the rest of the year. I’m just saying that it’s not “poor Fried”. Newcomb got replaced in the rotation for putting up similar numbers. All I’m saying is that I don’t feel sorry for him getting Grybo’ed because he can’t get though the 6th inning on less than 100 pitches.

  29. @53

    We agree on all of that. I was just trying to figure out how far you were going with this…heh.

  30. In all honesty, the inability of our starters to get through the sixth inning in blowouts is starting to get pretty irritating, and I don’t think the solution is to just take them out after two times through the order and tax our bullpen in games where we’re up by more than five runs. Third time through the order shouldn’t really be a concern in a seven-run game.

    To channel Rob a bit here, the solution is for them to be better in these situations which are really pretty easy to navigate.

  31. 56 — In the regular season the starter can work through it. It will burn out the bullpen to get the starter every time after 2 TTO unless you piggyback him.

    However, I was talking about postseason.

    I think I could make this topic into a post entry.

  32. Through 8 and still up 6.

    Tremendous offensive showing in Minnesota. Maybe it continues. With essential black holes Ender, Johan, and Tyler it is particularly impressive.

  33. On a somewhat related sidebar, I wonder if the inability of our pitchers to throw anything but balls and fat strikes in blowouts and the inability of our pitchers to throw anything but balls and fat strikes to opposing pitchers are related.

  34. @57 But you said very clearly up above @49 that Keuchel, Folty, and Fried were all left in too long. That implies that their struggles and runs allowed were the result of the manager not giving them the hook on time as opposed to these guys knowing how to eat some innings without letting things get out of hand.

    I think a lot of us know that things are different in the game today. I just think that we’re still puzzling over the modern enigma that is pitchers with great stuff and nearing their prime who can pitch 5 innings of shutout ball on few hits/walks but come completely unraveled during the later innings when good starters used to cruise (innings 5, 6, and 7).

    What we’re seeing is the extremely thin margin of error where as a pitcher begins to tire, even bad contact sends the ball shooting through the gaps… or floating over the fence.

  35. 61 — And it’s true they were left in too long if you look at their results the 3rd TTO.

    Read the next sentence from the comment you cherry-picked.

  36. In the juiced ball era, most pitchers aren’t going to feel super great about grooving fastballs on the first pitch, even with a big lead. I expect the average start length has dropped across the league this year.

  37. Duvall with the always popular “call the infielder off even though you have no idea where the ball is” trick.

    If this were a game show, Duvall would be the guy reflexively buzzing in and then sitting there with a dumb look on his face while his time expired.

  38. @62 I read the whole post @49. We have a semantic difference of opinion. You have a funny way of saying that those guys just didn’t pitch efficiently enough or save enough in the gas tank to get through 6. :)

    I mean, we can keep going down this path until the opening pitcher only lasts 3 innings. We can have them dance around the strike zone to the tune of 10-pitches per batter faced. Having them around in the 4th could then be considered leaving them in too long.

    But I get that your main point is that in the post-season, we need to get these guys off the mound if at 85 pitches they start looking incredibly hittable. I agree.

  39. @73

    No, he shouldn’t. There’s literally no difference between him hitting a home run and getting walked right here.

  40. Flowers ERA while catching just keeps rising. Is the pitch calling his fault? Huge difference between both catchers.

  41. With another seven runs given up game, Braves are now tied with the Phillies for most runs allowed this season by any NL East team (561). Only the Brewers, Pirates and Rockies have allowed more in the league.

  42. I didn’t think we would win this series going into it. When we lost the first game, I thought our chances of winning the next two were negligible. Nice work Bravos! RAJ, Ozzie, Freddie, and Josh really picked us up.

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