Monday’s come from behind victory was thrilling and memorable, but as a recipe for repeated victories it leaves something to be desired. It turns out that running the LOB total into double digits and entering the ninth inning down by three runs doesn’t always work out for the best in the end.
Tuesday night’s game did start out a lot like Monday’s. The Braves stranded five baserunners in first two innings. You may recall that they stranded 13 on Monday before the two ninth inning bombs, so they were on pace to top that. In the first, double, single, and double from Swanson, Freeman, and d’Arnaud got the Braves a run, but a shallow fly from the Mime and K’s from Adams and Duvall allowed the Nats to escape having yielded only that one run. The Braves then left the bases loaded without scoring in the second.
The starting pitching, on the other hand, could not have been more different than Monday. Last night, Touki walked six and hit a batter in three innings; he threw 73 pitches and only 34 were strikes. He only gave up two hits but both left the yard. Tuesday, Josh Tomlin got his first start of the season. After watching Toussaint and Wright lately, we all needed to see someone who knew where his pitches were going. Tomlin did just what you would expect. He went four innings, tossing 51 pitches, only 15 of which were balls. He did give up six hits and two runs, but that’s going to happen with a guy like Josh on the mound. Four innings and two runs is a quality start for the 2020 Braves.
Tomlin left the game with a lead, because the Braves started driving in some of those baserunners. Riley scorched a two rbi single to left in the third, and Freddie hit a long two run homer to the chophouse in the fourth.
Tyler Matzek came on to start the 5th. At first I thought they might try to get another inning out of Tomlin since he had only thrown 51 pitches. But that was more pitches than he had tossed in a game this year and the top of the order was coming up for the third time. With Eaton and Soto due up, it made sense to go to the lefty.
Hindsight is 20/20, but that decision didn’t turn out so well. Seven batters into the inning, Matzek had given up six hits and three runs and the bases were loaded. A.J. Minter came on to allow a run on a groundout but otherwise got out of the jam. But now it is 6-4 Nats.
Still, the Braves chances aren’t so bad, training by two in the middle of the fifth. They do have the deep bullpen, the bats have been coming alive, and you just expect them to score runs in the late innings. Turns out the Nationals’ bullpen pitched five shutout innings, Greene and Melancon gave up a run each in the 8th and 9th, and the final was 8-5.
The big off the field news of the day was that Christian Pache was called up and that Nick Markakis had to go to the IL due to possible covid exposure. The good news is that he tested negative; the bad news is we could all of a sudden be the Cardinals. Yikes—I prefer not to dwell on that possibility.
I’d prefer to be excited about seeing Pache in centerfield. He didn’t make an appearance on Tuesday because he arrived at the park shortly before game time, but I’m pretty sure he will start Wednesday, and hopefully most games going forward. For one thing, I hope never to see Ozuna in the field again. He reminds me of Matt Kemp out there. For another, we all know that Inciarte has been terrible offensively and his defense has slipped as well.
Speaking of Ender, Pache must have gotten to the park in time for Ender to feel someone’s breath on the back of his neck. Ender went three for three with a walk. I don’t think this one good night at the plate will save his starting job, but he is not going anywhere. He’ll remain on the big league club the rest of this year and next in all likelihood.
Austin Riley, though, has been in serious danger of going to Gwinnett. But perhaps he also felt the push of a possible roster move, because he had his best offensive game in a good while. In addition to the two run single, he was robbed of a home run on a leaping catch by Robles. I do think Riley has earned a little more rope.
Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, this crazy season continues on Wednesday with the rubber game against the Natspos. Somebody not named Scherzer, Strasburg, or Corbin starts for Washington. No reason you shouldn’t take the series when you don’t face any of them. On the other hand, Kyle Wright is on the mound for our Braves. Let’s hope he was taking notes during the recent starts by Erlin and Tomlin. Throwing more strikes than balls is a good plan.
25 thoughts on “gNats 8, Hammers 5 (I’m not giving up on this nickname idea, plus I like the idea of hammers juxtaposed against gnats)”
I left the game in your hands at 5-2. My fault for leaving. Give them back today, Hammers.
Thank you, tfloyd.
When Cakes is back, Matt Adams should be the odd man out. Ozuna has as much business in the outfield as fish do in the sky
I’m excited to see Pache, but his bat is not a sure thing. I think it’s fine if Snit doesn’t play him everyday.
I like Ozuna, but he looks like he’s playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey out there. His recent OF adventures have definitely cost us.
Kind of crazy as he came up as a center fielder. Is the issue that he never had a good read on the ball, but he used to have enough footspeed to compensate and now that he has lost a step, he just has no idea what he’s doing?
Thank you, Mr. T.
I disagree with Smitty on Matt Adams. Having a left-handed power bat could be useful. Having whatever the hell Johan Camargo is right now is not. Play Hechavarria or Culberson instead.
On the topic of Markakis and the coronavirus, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the unfortunate event that he tests positive in the next day or two. MLB and the Braves are gonna have to rely on their medical experts, in that case. Theoretically, from what I understand, he shouldn’t have been contagious when he was with the team since he tested negative yesterday, so I doubt we’re in a weeklong shutdown if he’s the only one who tests positive. That having been said, if he tests positive today, I’d expect them to bang today’s game just to be on the safe side. If no one else tests positive, we probably get the weekend series in, I would think.
Our base running was timid last night and compared very unfavorably with the Nats aggressive approach. Swanson’s opening salvo was a sure triple and clearly, after the fact, he knew it. Also, It is when you are in a period of hitting well with a couple of men on base that whatever the third man produces at the plate should be aggressively added to. The defense is flustered in those situations. Stealing bases behind your guy who is causing some havoc up ahead taking the extra base himself can be very productive and good for the scoreboard and team morale.
previous should end with two runs a game are in play in games like last 2 nights. Yes, overall they have faster runners but give our fast guys their heads.
Our problems the last two nights really begin and end with this: 5-for-26 (.192) with runners in scoring position, 24 left on base. It’s weird to say, but we simultaneously should’ve won both and should’ve lost both.
And Matzek’s inning-from-hell (.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER) certainly didn’t help.
Absolutely the case last night, in both instances. Tangible, easy to quantify. My concern is in an area that cannot be quantified and measured in any form. But that doesn’t stop a team like the Nats saying, hey, that’s the Braves, they don’t force it on the bases, let’s remember that.
Adams looked awful last night. Ozina wasn’t brought here for his defense. No way you take him out of the lineup.
Adams to go, Ozuna DH only. Think we can all agree on that. The real problem guy is Camargo – remember that home run into the upper Deck at Yankee Stadium not much more than a couple of weeks ago? Gut instinct and previous numbers suggest is he is too good to let go but straightening him out might require the off season. Like someone else here I think he got JD’d. It’s the head that’s wrong.
Insightfully, albeit sorrowfully, summarized, as always. Thanks, tfloyd.
What JonathanF said. Thanks tfloyd! I’m ready to see Pache in CF, Duvall in RF and Culbertson in LF and Ozuna at DH. No more Ender except as 5th OF and no more Ozuna in the field. We have to give Charlie some at bats to gauge if he’s going to be able to help us ahead
@5–I certainly don’t know the answer to AAR’s question, but I share his puzzlement that this guy could ever have been a centerfielder. That’s where the comparison with Matt Kemp is apt. Kemp was a centerfielder who won two gold gloves. Whether he deserved them is another question but at least folks thought he looked like a good fielder. No one who saw Kemp as a Brave made that mistake.
The loss of speed is part of why both became bad outfielders, but both as Braves looked like they had no idea where a fly ball might be going.
With Kemp, he was so athletic and when he first came up, he had so much speed that I’m quite sure he was able to compensate with speed for what he may have lacked in instinct. He was a serious basketball prospect; the guy was an absolutely monster athlete. I remember going to his second-ever game; I had no idea who he was but he went 2-for-3 with a walk batting fifth behind J.D. Drew and he seemed to be everywhere on the field and I basically remained terrified of him for the rest of the decade.
With Ozuna, perhaps he was more of a centerfielder by default, if the team’s scouts felt that Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich were better suited in the corners, given that Ozuna always had the lowest prospect profile of the three.
I doubt Markakis will test positive. It sounds like he could have had contact with someone who had or could have had COVID-19. From what I know, it doesn’t pass that easily. It requires substantial contact with an infected person. Sounds like they’re just being extra safe.
We don’t really know what kind of contact they had, so we can’t really evaluate the likelihood. The one thing we know is it’s pretty infectious. So I’m glad they’re operating out of an abundance of caution.
If he tests negative today, he’s good, right?
That two-negative-tests-24-hours-apart thing is only for people who have already tested positive. You know the virus has cleared your system when you test negative twice 24 hours apart.
For people who’ve been exposed and are waiting to see if they eventually test positive, it’s probably gonna be longer before they’re sure. Incubation period seems to be currently seen as 3-10 days, with an average of five. Depending on how cautious they wanna be, he could be out for 10 days after his presumed exposure.
This is one hell of a prank.
@23 Haha that’s great.
Game Thread: https://bravesjournal.com/2020/08/19/braves-start-pache-and-game-thread/