When I was a boy, in most decent sized towns in the South you had a Confederate memorial with a statue of a soldier. Usually it was an archetype of the regular soldier, standing with his rifle. Usually it was not some general on horseback. Also, one typical thing, was that the soldier was facing north, to remind the invaders not to come back. The one in Americus Georgia sat in the intersection of Lamar Street and Lee Street. After a few cars hit it, they moved it to Reese Park in 1964 or so and faced him east. Now a lot of these are being taken down over political interpretations that conflict with earlier sentiments.
Canada hasn’t probably actually invaded the U. S. ever. As a subject of the King of Great Britain, it served as the launching point for some forays in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. After its independence, the only invasions have been whisky in the 20’s and snowbirds since the 70’s.
This invasion is being led by something called a wag us pack (at least, that is the way Jim Powell said it). And, this invasion is being repelled by a Canadian, Maple Maddox Mike Soroka.
The invaders have a “back to the 90’s” plan. Most on this site can recall Guerrero, Biggio, and Bichette. However, it wasn’t Junior, Cavan, and Bo. Junior didn’t start this one, but the old names kept on coming. Bo singled, advanced to second on Cavan’s ground out, The Great Randall Grichuk struck out, and Smoak flied out.
Bottom of 1, the action starts. Acuna grounds out, Ozzie walks, Yesterday’s hero Freddie Freeman flied out and the Mulleted Scamp launced an 0-2 pitch to right center. 2 to nothing, Braves. And the ESPN win probability is reading about 84%. Hmm?
Top of 2, Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney struck out swinging, and old Braves farm hand Brandon Drury singled. Then Soroka completed his plan by getting Jansen to ground out and have the pitcher set to lead of 3.
Bottom of 2, Dansby Swanson continued in his offensively (as in not contributing to scoring or as in this offends one and all, you pick your usage there) futile return with a ground out. The “catcher of the Braves special second wind spirit,” drew a walk. Then Raphael “I’ve Created My Miracle, Your Turn” Ortega popped out to second. “Mr. .091” Mike Soroka then struck out on 3 pitches.
Top of 3. Whoever is running Game Cast has Bichette coming up first, but it should be Waguespack. By the time they are actually throwing pitches, they fix their glitch. Waguespack returns the favor of the 3 pitch strike out to Soroka. Bichette flied out to right, and Biggio struck out. Kind of feeling that 90’s dominance over the Astros and Rockies, aren’t you?
Bottom of 3. Unlike the Northern Invaders, Braves cleared the pitcher last inning to let Acuna start it off. Waguespack starts at 43 on the pitch count after 2 innings. Whoo! All Acuna did to help the cause was cause 7 more pitches before striking out. Ozhaino Albies followed with a walk and added 7 more pitches. Then, FF took the next pitch and Ozzie stole second. Then FF grounded to second and Ozzie moved up to 3rd. Waguespack gave the unintentional intentional walk to The Mulleted Scamp. Oh, and now the pitch count is up to 66. Would Matt Joyce make them pay for their disrespect? Maybe there was nothing intentional on the walk to JD because 4 pitches later bases are loaded. Or maybe it was because Waguespack was sure he could get Dansby. Pitch count 70, by the way. Dansby gets on with the help of a Brandon Drury error and 2 score. 4 to 0 Braves. ESPN probability of win is 93.7% to the Braves. After Cervelli grounded out, the probability dropped to 92.9.
Top of 4. Randall Grichuk (What!!!) homered. Probability at 89.4%. then Just In Smoak was a little cloudy as he grounded to the right side to Dansby in the shift. Teoscar Hernandez struck out and probability back to 91.4%. Billy McKinney walked on 5 pitches and Brandon Drury struck out on 3. Soroka up to 62 pitches. About 15 under Waguespack and an inning more pitched. 15 per inning is a whole lot better than 25 per inning.
Bottom of 4. Rafael Ortega didn’t get the coach’s “run up the pitch count” speech. He struck out in 3. Then Soroka grounded out to second and Acuna lined out to deep right. Probability at 90.6%.
Top of 5. Jansen ran up the count, but then grounded to FF. probability at 91.8%. Then something called a Rowdy Tellez pinch hit for Waguespack. Clint Eastwood became famous for playing Rowdy. If he keeps hitting 455 foot home runs, then he might be famous a little himself. Bichette walked and Biggio doubled. What is up with Soroka? Grichuk contributed a sacrifice fly to make it 4 to 3 and then Just In Smoak grounded to Dansby playing the shift up the middle. After all of that, Braves win probability is still 79.6%. I don’t know how they figure that stuff. Now the game is “official.”
Bottom of 5 starts with Ozzie. Jason Adam (Adam is the last name, not Adams) comes in to pitch. After getting it to a full count, Ozzie grounds to first. Freddie didn’t place his shift beating left side popup as well as he did against the Rockies, so he was out. The Mulleted Scamp struck out.
Well, Snit apparently thought Soroka had too many pitches and that they were too listless. So, in comes Josh Tomlin who promptly strikes out Teoscar Hernandez, then Billy McKinney. Fair chance that the pitcher spot comes up next inning. What will Snit do about that? Well, Brandon Drury grounded out to short, so maybe you let Tomlin work until he has a problem.
Bottom of 6. Joyce grounds out to second off of Adam. And lo and behold, Dansby singled to right. Then the Italian-Venezuelan, Venezuelan-Italian, whatever, GIDP’d. Cervelli likes catching Tomlin, so he took the decision away from Snit.
Top of 7. I really hope this 74% win probability is right. Tomlin pitched to Jansen who was on the “run up the pitch count plan” with three 2 strike foul balls in a row, but eventually flied out to right. So, Derek Fisher pinch hit for Adam, and grounded out. Bo Bichette stepped in at 1 for 2 with a walk and decided to have mercy on us by flying out to Acuna. Everybody get up and stretch.
Bottom of 7, despite being impugned on Braves Journal, Rafael Ortega coaxed a 9 pitch walk. Charlie Clutch came in to hit for Unsung Hero Josh Tomlin. Charlie was as good as a bunt. he struck out, but Ortega stole second. The Blue Jays called for the review. After an insufferable amount of time, the call stood. So, Acuna steps in with one out. Ortega took 3rd on a pick off error. But the “Struggling Acuna” struck out. Ozzie? Took it to a 3 and 2 count, but struck out. 5 straight high pitches (4 of them balls according to Game Cast, with one of those a foul ball) followed by a middle middle for the strike out. Two innings to go. Hopefully, one and a half innings to go.
Billy Hamilton doubled switched in with Shane Greene in to pitch and is due up 3rd. Hmm? Greene got Biggio, Grichuk and Smoak 1, 2, 3. On to bottom of 8
Toronto brought on lefty Buddy Boshers. Freddie led off and struck out. Donaldson reached on an error and Johan the Unknown Soldier Camargo came on as the pinch hitter. That expanded bench is nice to have, isn’t it? Johan launched one to create more [insert reliever name here] Room. Now it is 6 to 3. Then damn if Dansby didn’t single to right again. Maybe he is coming out of the funk. Good time for that. Cervelli had an 8 pitch at bat that ended on a called strike on what Game Cast said was a several inches inside ball. Let the viewers comment on their perspective on that. So Rafael Ortega gets one more chance to make tacos. Only if you like Poop Up tacos as the fly ball ended its arc in the shortstops glove. On to 9. By the way, win probability now at 97.5%. Much more comfortable. Snit called on Mark Muh Lan! Sun, got it?
Immaculate At Bat against Teoscar Hernandez. Immaculate at bat against Billy McKinney. Broke the string with a first pitch ball to Drury. So, two pitches shy of an Immaculate Inning, and that was that.
More winning, please.