2019 NL East Champs 6, San Francisco 0

Cue the champagne cork popping sound fx.

The Braves clinched the 2019 NL East division title in game 155 at SunTrust Park with Mike Foltynewicz pitching, just like they clinched the 2018 title in game 155 with Mike Foltynewicz pitching. I’d be fine with them clinching the 2020 division title in game 155 at STP with Folty on the bump, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, as there’s work to finish this year that last year’s team didn’t get to.

The aforementioned Foltynewicz saved his best start of the year for the clincher, twirling 8 innings of 3 hit, one walk shutout ball while chalking up 7 whiffs. (As an aside, I think everyone needs to use ‘twirling’ more when describing good pitching.) Folty was working well with Brian McCann behind the dish, not trying to rack up 5 strikeouts an inning, and his command was absolutely dominant. He also was controlling his emotions, working out of 3rd inning one out trouble, pitching around a lead off error from Dansby Swanson (which, to be fair to Lt. Dans, was a do or die play that could have easily been called an infield hit) and a one out bunt single from Mike Yastrzemski retiring Brandon Belt on a pop fly to center that Ronald Acuna, Jr. had to rush in to snag and then striking out Evan Longoria.

San Francisco’s next scoring chance came in the 6th, when Yaz led off with a double and went to third on Belt’s ground ball to the right side of the infield (along with Chip’s contractually required ‘Productive Out’ comment). But Josh Donaldson snagged a wicked grounder off Longoria’s bat, and held the runner before throwing to first for the out and Folty then struck out Srephen Vogt on three nasty pitches. Folty finished up the 7th and 8th, eventually needing 95 pitches before giving way to Josh Tomlin who cleaned up.

The Braves offense by that time had put the game out of reach. Acuna started the game by working a walk off Tyler Beede. Ozzie Albies then refused to give RAJ a chance for steal 38 as he singled on the first pitch, send RAJ to third. Freddie Freeman drove him in with a sac fly to open a 1-0 lead.

Batman and Robin were at it again in the 3rd. RAJ doubled with one out and Ozzie singled him home to make it 2-0. In the 5th Acuna doubled the lead again, when he launched a 2 run bomb to deep right center scoring Folty, who had reached on an infield single off Beede’s glove.

BMac ended the scoring with a 6th inning two run shot plating Matt Joyce. If there is a more insulting (and funny) home run call than Frenchy’s Most Exciting Two Minutes In Baseball then I don’t know about it. But I’m sure BMac doesn’t care and would be happy to let Jeff use that more often.

So, Atlanta now has a chance to use the last week plus to get ready for the playoffs. Rest a few guys here and there, set the rotation for Game 1, get some injured players some at bats (I’m looking at you Dansby and Ender Inciarte), and figure out who’s gonna take the last spots on the bench and in the bullpen.

It struck me from about two seconds after BMac’s ball left the park, that both teams knew the game was over and it was just a matter of getting the last nine outs. I think this year’s team has gained a degree of swagger that last year’s team did not possess. And that, more than anything else, has me excited to watch the playoffs, because I’m betting there are a bunch of guys in the Braves clubhouse who know they can win it all. Not think they might, but know they can.

And that’s gonna make the next month or so exciting.

57 thoughts on “2019 NL East Champs 6, San Francisco 0”

  1. I was surprised to realize how few doubles Acuna has given his HR and SB totals. It seems like anyone with that much power would hit lots of balls off the wall, and anyone with that much speed would get some doubles with his legs on balls cut off in the gap. When I looked at some of the other players around 40/40, though, his total didn’t look that unusual. It might be a record if the definition is precise enough, but it wasn’t as out of line as I had expected.

  2. Last year Acuna caught the last out of the clinching game playing left field, this year he caught the last out of the clinching game playing centre field. Next year he will catch the last out of the clinching game playing right field.

  3. mlbbowmanMark Bowman12h
    NL East titles since 1994 (when the Braves moved from the NL West)
    Braves 14
    Phillies 5
    Nationals 4
    Mets 2

    And yet it’s the Marlins with multiple WS championships. So mind boggling. Let the Braves change that this year please!

  4. @4 As uninspiring as some of those reserve lineups are, agreed. I’d completely punt on that KC series. With Monday being an off day, I’d rest half the regulars for the Tuesday game; and then on Wednesday I’d rest the guys who didn’t get a breather the day before, giving them 2 days off with the off day on Thursday.

  5. Lurker here. Was hoping to hear people’s thoughts on the postseason rotation. Fried’s gotta be the odd man out, right? Wondering if that’s ever happened before, a team’s leader in wins being the fifth starter going into the playoffs. Do you save Soroka for game 3 or are his home/road splits just statistical noise? If we go with a 3 man rotation does Dallas get a spot or Julio (assuming Folty and Soroka are the other two)?

  6. @8 I hope it’s Fried over Tehran for the 4th spot, so fingers crossed that you’re wrong. I believe you nailed the top 3 though.

  7. There is so much data, it’s hard for me to tell with all of his hits, but very few of Acuna’s homeruns have been down the right or left field lines. Not hitting for power down the lines is a good explanation for his relative lack of doubles and triples.

  8. @7–a lot of folks are predicting Soroka for game three because of the home/road splits, but I suspect that is random. I would prefer to have him in game one.

  9. I would love to see a Julio/Max tandem for game 4. Neither should face a lineup 3 times right now. Flip the order Vs the Dodgers.

  10. I understand about saving Soroka for the road but I particularly like Soroka against whoever the “ace” is for the opposite team. Based upon his performances against Scherzer and Nola, I think he pitches inspired baseball when his opponent is of the highest quality. This whole team seems to play to the level of the opposition. That’s one reason they have a better chance to win this year.

    I do think Fried and Teheran will duke it out for 4th SP in the playoffs. And I also agree with AAR that they will go with the best matchup. I think Fried, with a little rest, will be light’s out for four innings. I also think he has a better chance than Julio to get off to a good start. To me, the best scenario would be to go with Fried for 4, get a run or two lead, and then give Julio a chance to span the gap to the relievers.

    Especially against the Dodgers, changing handedness of pitchers more than once in a game with one of those changes coming fairly early would tend to neutralize all their platoon hitters and depth.

  11. I know Soroka has been fantastic, but I’d feel better with Keuchel on the bump in game 1. I’d just rather someone who’s been there and done it be responsible for handling the pressure of setting the tone.

  12. A short leash
    it sounds so overbearing – sheesh
    but those who start as fresh as a daisy
    sooner than later they’ll tend to drive you crazy.

  13. Plus running them out there in the order of Soroka, Keuchel, Folty – gives a great variety of styles for an opposing offense to deal with. Add Fried and you can go right, left. right. left. With Soroka you get Maddux-ian precision, Keuchel gives you Greinke-lefty junk-balling, and Folty gives you straight up power pitching. Not only is that a lot for an offense to deal with but, if one fails, you get something totally different to go the next night. That’s one reason that since June 1st, the Braves had only two losing streaks as long as three (i.e AK – After-Keuchel).

  14. Watching the game at Wrigley to learn more about the Cards. Hudson struggled on his first start there. Walked in two runs of a total of 3 in the first.

    Padres fire Andy Greene. Reds send 5 players home, including Gaus, on the basis they are not well. Novel, surely, humanitarian certainly and see you next year.

    3-1 Cubs with Hudson’s problems but they are a poor lot and not who we have to worry about.

  15. This year’s Giants are not the team that won three world series under Bochy. Folty was great. I am happy you all think he’s now Verlander. I hope you’re right. I will not hold my breath.

  16. @22 coop, agreed, however, I watched the pitcher more than the hitters. Folty was very shaky the first two or three innings and started with a high pitch count because he couldn’t throw enough effective strikes. But he really dialed it in later in the game and, by the 7th/8th, he really was unhittable.

    And there’s no telling what would have happened if the Braves hadn’t gotten a quick lead.

  17. I sure hope we see the bench emptied today. I’d like to see a lineup of the following:

    OF – Acuna, Hamilton, Ortega
    IF – Riley (3B), Dansby, Hech (2B), Duvall (1B)
    C – Cervelli

    Might actually turn in a nice offensive performance, too.

    Ah, just missed. Donaldson in, Ortega out. Close, though.

  18. I agree that Teheran/Fried would be an exciting tandem. Has anyone done something like that in the playoffs?

  19. Good job, Snit and Alex. Congrats on the 2019 NL East!

    Snit needs to rest Freddy and Josh before the post-season. They’re looking tired at the plate. Phase in Ender too, if he’s ready.

  20. Craig Kimbrel just gave up back-to-back solo homers on the first two pitches to open the 9th. Cardinals lead 9-8.

  21. @27 Beat me to the punch. Not only back-to-back pitches but back-to-back first ball fastballs at 97mph. Both were high pitches and the first one wasn’t even close to a strike – about 2-3 inches high. I can’t believe that was really Kimbrel’s fault that Molina hit a FB at his eyeball level.

  22. you guys, allow me this.

    Kimbrel came in to pitch the top of the 9th with the Cubs leading 8-7

    Ist pitch home run
    2nd pitch home run

    Cards win 9-8
    To be fair, the wind was howling out.

    But, like me, aren’t you glad it wasn’t us?

  23. @26 You got half of that. Freddie got a day off. Kakes, Freddie, Ozzie, and McCann got a day off.

  24. I knew these guys were gonna hit tonight. Ronald faked going twice and I gotta believe that had something to do with Hech getting a pitch he could wallop.

  25. Did i just hear Jeff say, talking about Eech, ‘he struggled with the New York Jets?’

    Am so wanting to see Cervelli make hard contact and then have to run.

  26. I feel bad for the Giants. They are catching a team that was so tight and badly needed to relax and have fun again. A little relaxation, a collective sigh of relief, and they are breaking out.

  27. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t you think that if O’Day was indeed on the bubble to make the postseason roster, he’d be pitching more? Therefore, he’s pretty likely to make the roster at this point?

    Accordingly, it would seem like Wright is getting a shot to make the roster, though it’s not going that well.

  28. I think he’s simply getting an opportunity to get some innings in, and if he dominated, he could sneak in, but I think that’s the extent of the chance he’s getting.

  29. These Giants are still not world champs, but I guess Max is Kershaw to Folty’s Verlander.

    Glad Freddie and Ozzie got a day off

  30. There are all these tweets in Spanish today and yesterday about Ender, and it would seem as if they’re relevant. With that said, I don’t speak Spanish.

  31. Haha. They did.

    But they better develop a vertical passing game or they’re not going to compete with the big, big dawgs. That was at night, at home, against a perennially overrated ND team.

    They still beat Florida this year, definitely beat Auburn, but I don’t know if they’re ready to beat Bama. Definitely doesn’t matter if they didn’t win tonight, though, and they did.

  32. For those interested in what a game of football could look like the Rugby World Cup has started in Sapporo and will last 7 weeks! Guarantee that if you keep an open mind and hang in there you will enjoy it.

    NBC Sports. They are asking silly money for the primo match ups but have already started showing the lesser lights free. Have fun.

  33. ‪Since becoming Braves:‬

    ‪Hechavarria: .883 OPS‬

    ‪Cervelli: 1.315 OPS‬

    ‪Hamilton: .367 OBP (.713 OPS but that’s a bad way to measure Billy’s skillset).‬

    ‪He might have little to do with it, it we don’t talk about Kevin Seitzer enough.‬

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