Itâ€™s difficult to summarize the Bravesâ€™ rise from worst to first in a way that does justice to the size of the feat. I mean, sure, there was the 1991 team that inaugurated the Great Run, which was presaged by the last place 1990 team. But thatâ€™s been done to death. I mean the astonishing worst-to-first rise which began April 1, when a 3-2 loss to the Phillies sent the Braves into last place. As late as April 6th, they hadnâ€™t even won a game, and had fallen to their low point, a whopping 3.5 games out of first. Three and half games, and almost an entire week of the season gone. Was there any hope? Somehow, by hook or crook, they were going to have to make up those 3.5 games in the next 158. Fortunately, they still had most of their head-to-head games available against everybody, but everyone saw how uphill the struggle was.
But rise they did. It didnâ€™t come all at once â€“ nothing worthwhile ever does. After the April 14th loss to the Marlins, they were still 3 games back â€“ only Â½ game improved in an agonizing 8 game stretch. Why if it took 8 days to gain 0.5 games, they wouldnâ€™t be in first untilâ€¦ well, never mind about that. Agonizing step by step, they rose until, on April 28th, they had at last ascended to a tie (which became, briefly, first alone this afternoon) for first. My Godâ€¦ can anyone even remember back to April 1st?
Just to refresh your memories, here are some of the things that were true back then. Joe Biden was President. Cardi Bâ€™s â€œUpâ€ was number one on the pop charts. (Warning: I just watched the video, and neither the lyrics nor images are suitable for work or anywhere else. The things I do for you people.) People thought a dead guy was going to win an Oscar. Atlanta still had the All Star Game. Wow. It seems like an eternity. Well, this will certainly be something to tell the grandchildren. You were there for the comeback. The mountaintop had been conquered.
It didnâ€™t hurt that almost 1/3rd of the games had been against Chip Carayâ€™s favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. It certainly didnâ€™t hurt that two of the games had been against Kyle Hendricks. Reverse those two games, and the Braves would still be mired in last place. Now letâ€™s see if we can defend it.
In the top of the first, Bryse Wilson fell off the rubber while pushing off and balked in the 2124th run of the Retrosheet Era, which started in 1921.This was the 49th run balked in by an Atlanta pitcher. Max Fried was the last one, in Fenway on August 31st last year. It was the third time an Atlanta Brave had balked in a Cub: Ramon Hernandez balked in Glenn Beckert on May 30, 1967. Phil Niekro (who by the way, balked in 4 runners in his time in Atlanta to lead the team) balked Cleo James in on August 18, 1971. And thatâ€™s how baseball history gets written — one run-scoring balk at a time.
That was not the only historic highlight of the game. The Cubs scored two runs in every odd inning other than the 9th, where they got tired and only scored one. The linescore pattern â€˜202020201â€™ has never before appeared in baseball history.
We lost 9-3, but since the Phillies lost, and the Mets didnâ€™t play, weâ€™re still in first. I can tell that enthusiasm for this game waned when there were no Braves Journal entries after 8:41.
We head now to a distant suburb of Toronto to play the Blue Jays for the weekend. Itâ€™s a really long season, but tomorrow is my Momâ€™s 87th birthday. Letâ€™s win this one for her.
Masterful. That was a Huascarpiece.
Don’t look now, but Riley is basically tied in OPS with Freeman.
Bravo, JonathanF. Thank you.
Good old mom. They provided what’s best in us, their golden hair a talisman.
Beware the obvious danger though as we ourselves reach adulthood. I made the egregious mistake of thinking all women were as selfless. Twice. Any comparison is laughable.
They were genetically disposed though to pass on a love for numbers and other such quirks in your case. I refuse to allow that to overshadow my best wishes to you both.
An awkward truth
said Babe Ruth
though it’s hardly of matter
while measuring around
I recently found
my meniscus is flatter.
Happy birthday, Jonathan’s mom.
Happy birthday to Jonathan’s mom! Love and happiness! Cake and ice cream!
Everything I always wanted to know about balks!
Love the recaps, JonathanF.
Ronald Acuna is on pace for a 11.2 fWAR season. And that’s not tops. Trout has also has an amazing start, and he is on pace for a 11.8 fWAR season.
Also, my math was wrong yesterday. Shocker. Austin Riley, before yesterday’s game, was on pace for a 3.9 fWAR season.
Luke Jackson is 4th in the bullpen in WPA, as we all expected.
I can’t say I totally understand WPA sometimes. AJ Minter is 7th amongst the relievers and has a negative number. I don’t understand that. Alex, please help. Haha
Barves option AAAA Wilson to the alternative site and Johan Shuttles Camargo to the alternative site as well.
Newcomb and Edgar Santana to the Barves. Hopefully through the COVID FOG, Newk remembers to throw strikes and throw hard.
Terrific, JonathanF. And Happy Birthday to your mom. Is she a Braves fan?
@14: Thanks. She is indeed, although she now lives in Reno and has added the A’s to her rooting portfolio.
And I’ll thank her for the rest of you as well.
No one will ever convince me that any other site that writes about baseball has better recaps. Wow!
I’m actually looking forward to seeing Santana pitch. I know it’s somewhat hypocritical, but I don’t put the same stigma on someone who uses PEDs trying to speed up their recovery from Tommy John surgery as I do someone just trying to speed up their fastball. With all the pain medicine they take for recovery from surgery I can easily see getting some bad advice.
His #s and peripherals were v good with PIT except he went 0-7 in SV opportunities. So clearly he doesnâ€™t have the stuff or mental abilities to close but we donâ€™t need him to.
@19 By that logic, neither is Will Smith. By the time he played his first season in San Francisco, he had blown 17 of his first 18 save opportunities.
Is that true @20? If so, wow.
The guy who founded, owns and runs Spotify is openly admitting he wants to buy Arsenal, for cash. Kroenke and son are saying no. They are loathed by the cognoscenti and their blue collar brethren alike.
I mention this to draw the obvious parallel with MacKenzie and her newly minted 33 billion. To repeat, 33 billion*. I think we need to put Jonathan in on this. For a start it would help greatly if he or for that matter any well connected social butterfly can come up with a working email address, where she lives in Seattle etc.
*having already donated 5B.
You all do realize if you aren’t pitching the 9th, your save numbers will always look like that. You can get a blown save in the 6th, 7th or 8th inning, whereas you can’t get an actual save in those innings, seven inning DHs notwithstanding.
Generous to a fault. Well said.