Nationals 9, Braves 4

The Nationals exploded for 9 runs on 17 hits, and as a result now trail the Braves by 9 games in the NL East.

Washington struck early and never looked back, as Adam Eaton followed Trea Turner‘s leadoff single in the top of the first with a 2 run homer, and Yan Gomes and Juan Soto kept the homer streak alive with solo shots in the 2nd and 3rd innings respectively.

Matt Joyce‘s 2nd inning solo homer opened the scoring for the Braves. Joyce added a 1-out double in the 4th to give the Braves runners on 2nd and 3rd, but Max Scherzer came back to strike out Dansby Swanson and Tyler Flowers. Those were the only 2 hits Scherzer allowed, and he struck out 9 in his 6 innings.

Mike Soroka allowed 7 hits and a lone walk to go with 7 strikeouts in his 6 innings, and turned a 4 – 1 deficit over to the bullpen. If the bullpen hadn’t allowed 5 runs, then the 3 runs the Braves scored in the bottom of the 9th would have been a lot more interesting. Chad Sobotka, A.J. Minter, and Jeremy Walker combined to give up 10 hits in the last 3 innings, one of which was Gomes’s 2nd homer.

Charlie Culberson led the charge in the 9th with a solo homer, and Johan Camargo, Francisco Cervelli, and Adam Duvall also responded to an opportunity to get sharp with base hits. Nonetheless, the previously built Guerra Gap allowed Javy Guerra the luxury to finish off the last 2 innings without bothering any other Nationals relievers.

The Braves 9 game winning streak comes to an end, and they finish the series at 3 – 1 (2 – 1 in games started by Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, or Scherzer.) A 7 game road trip starts Monday at 7:05, with the first of 4 against Philadelphia. Mike Foltynewicz vs. Aaron Nola 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.

70 thoughts on “Nationals 9, Braves 4”

  1. First round of tryouts didn’t go so well. I’m still holding out hope that Pfeifer will get a chance.

  2. Thank you, Rusty. Can’t win them all, I guess. Would like to win the Phillies series, however. Nola’s not easy, boys; so bring your best game. Go Braves.

  3. I have seen the future and it doesn’t include Rome or Mississippi.
    The one issue remaining (mentioned in the article) is how you weed out the players who are great in the cage but can’t perform when crowds are watching. Fans love watching performance under game pressure, and are amazed by how well athletes perform under pressure, but forget that the ones who can’t perform under pressure were weeded out long before they got to MLB. That’s the main reason there’s really no such thing as clutch hitting. There”s just hitting to which clutchiness is retroactively labeled.

  4. I’ve been wondering for a while now if at least one run of the minor league ladder will be removed. When you have an entire level completely devoid of any kind of prospect talent, that’s when I’m thinking that there are too many rungs. I realized last night that I had not been to a single Fire Frogs game this year, but the reality is that there wasn’t a reason to. There wasn’t a single legitimate prospect on their roster all year, in my eyes. Maybe Freddie Tarnok, but that’s it.

    Would it make talent evaluation easier if you had less competition that has no business being there? I like the angle the Astros took with being able to consolidate coaches by having less affiliates too.

    That Ottavino article linked in there is pretty neat too. Living in New York, he uses a vacant Manhattan shop to work on a cutter in the 2017-2018 offseason. It certainly helped that his real estate developer father-in-law hooked him up with $88K in rent forgiveness to use the space for 4 months.

  5. The Braves only have $82M committed to next year. Notable arb guys will be Dansby and Folty. Like this year and last year, I don’t think that the Braves will max out their payroll in the offseason as it’s really looking like an AA MO to step on the gas in July when it comes to payroll. But notable salaries coming off the books: Donaldson (boo), O’Day, Swarzak/Vizzy, Duvall, Gausman, and Keuchel. Notable increases: we will pay Mark Melancon and Billy Hamilton $21.5M more than they did this year if Spotrac is accurate. That’s basically the earnings of O’Day, Swarzak/Vizzy, Duvall, and Gausman right there. I can see Atlanta clearing Hamilton’s $7M, but Melancon’s $19M ain’t going anywhere, I don’t think.

    I scoffed at it before when someone linked that Reddit “leak” about payroll, but it’s probably about right that Atlanta could do the same thing they did last year by beginning the season in the low $110M’s on payroll, and that would give them that $25M or so to spend this offseason. Cue the weeping and gnashing of teeth. Oh, and did you know that the Braves are owned by a real estate company?

    With that said, it’d be pretty ridiculous for the Braves to get 2+ rounds of postseason play, 4-6 postseason home games, less stories of allocating resources to paying down debt, and they don’t increase payroll from 2019. But that’s probably where we’re headed.

  6. About a decade or so ago, Bill James had a great piece rethinking the modern farm system as well. He proposed a pyramid — click here and go down to the part of the page titled “The Pyramid,” it’s below an unrelated article:

    The basic idea is that you should have a lot more teams at the lowest levels than the higher levels, because talent will wash out. A system with about as many Triple-A players as Double-A players just means that you’re going to have a lot more non-major league talent in Triple-A than in Double-A.

  7. @ 6, Rob,

    I just rechecked this stuff in Cot’s. 99% sure that Hamilton has a 1 mill buyout. Also, Melancon is 15.5 mill next year, not 19.

  8. @4

    Walter Buehler, we hardly knew ye’…’it’s not fair’ says he. He has a heart?
    ‘for lust of knowing what we should not know
    we take the Golden Road to Samarkand.’

    Orwellian too in places…
    Seventy five HARD MOUNTED cameras throughout.

    Whimsical also. Signor Ottovino (he of the eight drinks) equipping his new digs for uses hitherto unimaginable..
    ‘He’s got Manhattan etc…’

    Rob’s Frogs, trapped in Purgatory. And wet.

    JonathanF…such material, thank you…one could go on all day. I never made the Show you know, there has to be the minors for folks like me.

  9. I cannot imagine a universe in which Billy Hamilton is on the Braves major league roster next year for any amount, much less $7 million. If it takes one million to buy him out they will do so.

    But why are the Braves on the hook for him? Wasn’t he released outright, meaning the Braves did not assume his contract. Do I misunderstand that?

  10. AAR, thanks for the Bill James article. I have now fulfilled my continuing education requirement for the day.

    Bethany, I cannot fathom why Flowers would be the second catcher over Cisco. Peanut’s pitcher choices, though, look okay.

  11. Ok, I now see they did assume his contract. But I am confident they will pay the one million to get out of it next year

  12. @13 It’s a business, after all, but it would be very strange for the Braves to pick up Cervelli for nothing, with his stated goal to be on a playoff team, then not have him on the roster for the playoffs. A bad look.

  13. @6 With that said, it’d be pretty ridiculous for the Braves to get 2+ rounds of postseason play, 4-6 postseason home games, less stories of allocating resources to paying down debt, and they don’t increase payroll from 2019. But that’s probably where we’re headed.

    I feel like it’s different than that, now, though. I was harsh on them earlier this season, but their actions appear to match their words now that we’re able to look back on the season. They said there was a budget increase, and now we can see that’s the case.

    I recall reading or hearing from McGuirk that the Braves’ planned budget increase going into 2020 was for a budget right around $140M. I can’t find it in writing anywhere, but I got the impression that the team could have a payroll as high as $145M-$150M by the end of the season 2020 (surpassing budget by a little).

    For now, I don’t have any doubt that they plan on gradually increasing the payroll in steps provided their revenues continue to climb and they pay down their debts.

  14. @8

    I totally missed the buyout. Thanks. They will surely pay that.

    Spotrac has a $5M bonus for Melancon that is added to his contract. It’s hard to know with some of these things. Maybe they’re not on the hook for that?

  15. A $150M payroll would put them between 12th and 13th based on this year’s rankings.

    Wouldn’t you hate to be the Phillies right now? They go through a rebuild the same time as Atlanta, but they don’t come out of it with a bevy of pitching prospects and Acuna, Albies, Swanson, Ender, Riley, Pache, Waters, etc. They come out of the rebuild with literally about a quarter of that. So they’re forced to build through the free agent market because they don’t have much to trade and even less to fill spots internally, their owner says they’ll spend “stupid money”, and they’ll end this year with a payroll ranking of…. 11th.

    And Atlanta had the foresight to rebuild when they did so they had some surplus value with their guys, and they even used their 2015 payroll to get younger (Touki). The 2015 Phillies payroll seems to have the Phillies paying Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee $50M. The Braves obviously got pretty lucky, though, that two guys they already had that weren’t seen as all-world prospects like Albies and Acuna worked out the way they did. The Phillies just didn’t seem to be really get any breaks like that.

  16. @16

    Well, I wouldn’t worry about it. The day this team doesn’t carry three catchers on a playoff roster is the day that pigs fly.

    I honestly can’t believe that Peanut, who’s been covering this team for 18 years (according to his byline), would seriously entertain the thought that they wouldn’t carry a third catcher. They shouldn’t, but they’re obviously going to.

  17. True, the Phillies haven’t caught many breaks. They have Aaron Nola, though, which is a big break. I liked their signing of Jake Arrieta–I thought that was the right thing to do for a young team that needs a stable rotation. Arrieta really hasn’t worked out for them, though, but they can choose to part ways after next season, I think. I also don’t believe that Bryce Harper has been a positive for them, but he and JT Realmuto are 2 of their top 3 players! There’s that, at least… kind of.

    The worst thing they could do, from our POV, is fire Gabe Kapler. I hope they keep right on under-delivering.

  18. Pretty quiet around here, I suppose we are all taking a breather from an emotional weekend.

    I’d say Braves need to go 7-11 to feel good about the division. I could see Washington going 16-4 in an extreme case but no better and even that is probably not possible with their schedule.

    Still I’ll feel much better when the magic number is 0 after 2011.

  19. Braves have actually only had one 18 game stretch as bad as 7-11 this year from April 11-April 30.

    It’s hard to see this team going 6-12 or worse.

  20. It’s hard to imagine this team playing sub-.500 ball, period. It could happen, but provided the key components are healthy enough to play, it’s not going to happen…

  21. @21 Hahaha So true about Kapler. There’s being bad at your job, and then there’s a level of ineptitude, which I shall call the Kaplesphere, that is Gabe.

    I hope he gets a life time contract in Philadelphia.

  22. @9 I don’t understand his rationale for putting Flowers on this roster. Did he forget they have Cervelli? He straight out says that Flowers isn’t good enough to start against lefties, so he’s obviously rostering this spot as purely a back up Catcher. Unless one believes, in the face of all statistical evidence to the contrary, that Tyler’s a better hitter than Cervelli though, why do you leave off the guy who’s looked better in every other facet?

    I have some other issues with his roster too. Notably, I’m not taking Riley and Duvall. I want one, for sure, but not both- and I lean toward Duvall. Riley’s hitless since being recalled, and his last big league knock was August 4th. I’d want to see a lot more before giving him a nod.

  23. @9 Peanut is taking way too many OFs and the two catcher thing. Elsewise, his position players are pretty solid. If you substitute Inciarte for Hamilton and drop Riley for Cervelli, I think that may be it for position players. So the position player battles come down to Inciarte/Hamilton and Riley/Duvall. Riley will really have to come out of his slump big time to make it.

    For the pitchers, he has the obvious rotation pieces. And if you take the top WAR pitchers from FG after the starters, you get Jackson, Melancon, Martin, Greene, Folty, Newk, Walker. That is exactly Peanut’s list except swapping Walker for Blevins (the LOOGY thing). Anybody else will have to play their way in if someone plays their way out. That includes Minter, Tomlin, O’Day, Swarzak, and Walker.

    The quest for an effective, shutdown lefty is something that may never be fulfilled this year. Although, O’Day doesn’t have much variance in his splits. I’d really love to see if O’Day has something left in the tank. Considering, he hasn’t had much wear on his arm this year, he might be the freshest arm of any playoff reliever.

    The competition I see remaining is:

    Folty vs. Tomlin
    Minter vs. Blevins
    Jackson vs O’Day vs Swarzak vs Walker for one slot

    @2 No chance for Pfeiffer without another 60 day IL placement to open a roster spot. And then I don’t think there’s close to enough time to get a good feel for what he can do in the majors.

  24. Chip and Frenchy both gave praise to Ortega for getting the runner to third with one out. The problem is the next hitter is Folty, who has about as much chance as I do of getting that runner in.

  25. Man, why are Newk and Tomlin warming? Why not get O’Day and Minter out there? We need to get O’Day some innings.

  26. If Folty can get to where he was last August and September, where he was regularly going 6 innings or more, then he can be Foltzie again.

  27. Really hope we get to see O’Day in the 9th. A bit absurd some of the fringe guys aren’t getting a look right now.

  28. Well, Newk needs work too. He’s definitely been in a slump. But I agree that I’d like to see O’Day. We may still yet.

  29. This is frustrating. We already know what Tomlin can do and that is keep the team in the game. That isn’t the skill set that’s needed to be seen right now. Snit, like Bobby, is loyal to his guys and that’s why they love him… and that’s really awesome. But tonight was a perfect spot to see new blood and it was wasted.

  30. I agree Ryan. What’s the point with wasting an inning on Tomlin when you’re bound to need him during a loss pretty soon?

  31. As a distant follower of both the Braves and this site, there is no better way to wake up then to check the ESPN score notification to see another win on the board

    This season has become so enjoyable that middle child has requested a Bringer of Rain shirt to supersede her current Freeman one – and I’ve had to order one for myself

    The only downside is I fear that the full Mulleted Scamp experience may only be for one year – but what a year it has been. Let’s hope it extends deep into October

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