Braves 6, Phillies 1

Dansby Swanson broke the game open with a 2 run homer off Aaron Nola in the bottom of the first, and Huascar Ynoa had another nice start to help the Braves take the series 2 – 1, and even their record at 17 – 17.

Swanson’s 4th homer of the season gave the Braves a 4 – 1 lead, and Ynoa shut the Phillies down for 6 innings after Andrew McCutchen led off the game with a homer. Ynohtani gave up 4 hits and a walk, and struck out 6. He also hit a batter. It would have been really nice for the bullpen if he could have gone 7 innings; however, 92 pitches precluded that. But what you really want to know is, did he homer for the 3rd straight game? Alas, he could only single in 2 appearances to extend his hitting streak to 4 games.

Freddie Freeman homered for the 2nd consecutive game, drove in 2 runs, and went 3 – 3. Austin Riley added 2 hits, including an RBI double, and Swanson went 2 – 3. Now 27, if Dansby doesn’t rise from his slow start in the remaining months and demonstrate another level offensively, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I’ll remain on record as optimistic until then.

Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, and Luke Jackson covered the last 3 innings. Matzek did this. Try, try, try to understand. He’s a magic man.

The Braves close to 1.5 games behind the first place Mets, and 0.5 games behind the Phillies. The Dunedin Blue Jays come to town Tuesday; Max Fried and Robbie Ray 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.

44 thoughts on “Braves 6, Phillies 1”

  1. The Braves are 13-9 after April 15th, which was the day after the second four game losing streak (when they lost 4, won 4, lost 4). It’s easy to get worked up about 4 game losing streaks, and the Braves had 3 of them in 28 games, which might be an Atlanta record. But the team is a good team, and they’ve played the majority of the first fifth of the season without their top two pitchers, their second-best and fourth-best relievers, and 2/5th of their rotation and half their lineup has been terrible. Shoot, even Ender at this point would be an improvement over Pache. This team will run away with the division soon.

  2. I truly believe we’ll play better the rest of the season — getting Greene should be big — but I also think it’ll be the Braves, Phils & Mets (w/ deGrom, that is) swapping the top 3 spots most of the year.

    Even if we’re as good as we’ve been the past few years, those clubs have improved.

  3. DeGrom’s going in for another MRI, which is terrifying for the Mets and frankly deeply disappointing as a baseball fan. If he’s on the shelf for any length of time, I doubt that team — or any team — could weather the blow. Before the year started, I said we were a 93-win team. I think we could still win 88 games. But while we’re a decently well-rounded team, we don’t have a lot of star wattage right now outside of Ronald Acuna.

    Eventually Ynohtani will have a few bumps in the road and regress downwards to the mean, while a bunch of our players are likely to regress further back upwards to the mean, like Freddie and Ozuna and Varsity. But I don’t see us as a team that can run away and hide with the division. I think that after a month and change, we are who we’ve been: a pretty good team who can look really ugly for a week at a time.

  4. So was Freddie’s awful slump and demeanor simply a question of cherchez la femme?
    ‘ I could not love thee Dear so much lov’d I not homers more.’

    ububba says Huascar is confident. I say it too, yes, but he has already moved beyond that I believe, he is deeply happy. It flickers across his face with no pretense, no effort. ‘A consummation Devoutly to be wished’, someone once said. We should all be thus happy. Regress to the mean? Nah, I think not. His innocence, his childlike delight, must be protected though, our job.

  5. I think the Phillies will be around the top with us for most of the year…they are pretty good. I think the Mets could tank if DeGrom is out just because it is such an emotional loss.

    I still think it is crazy that we are pining for Ender, but at least he will give us something more than the nothing Pache is giving us right now. With Contreras and Dansby starting to hit we are reducing the open positions in the lineup so hopefully we can finish turning the corner. Lets repay the Jays for what they did to us last week…

  6. @7 I think the Braves are, as currently constituted, a 90-92 win team. Fried and Morton will be better, the bullpen will be better, and the offensive depth will improve as the season goes on (albeit not to the offensive heights of 2020 when we absolutely mashed). I think the Braves should be the favorites in the NL East – but certainly not prohibitive favorites. Every team in the NL East is at least decent, I would not at all be surprised if every team in the East won between 70 – 90 games this season.

    (Obviously if DeGrom is out that’s a huge blow for the Mets, but I think they’re still gonna win their fair share regardless. Thor is likely coming back in a month or two, Stroman and Walker have been good, Carrasco will probably pitch some (and well) this year too.)

  7. @7
    I don’t see us as the team we’ve been seeing. Assuming that we’ve got Fried back, and hopefully Soroka will be soon to follow, I see us as a large tornado that nobody is seeing behind a veil of very heavy rain. That veil of rain is every player who has played terribly to start the season. When that veil fades, it’s going to be a monstrous mile wide destructive force packing a lot of punch and a deep-ish rotation.

    You simply cannot count on the lineup remaining terrible. These aren’t terrible hitters. When Acuna, Freeman, and Ozuna are all contributing this team is going to be hard to beat once let alone twice in a row.

  8. I’m laughing out loud at the “Ender will at least provide something” people. You guys are just absolute gluttons for punishment, aren’t you?

    He won’t provide anything, and I thought that was blindingly obvious by this point. He’s equally as bad as Pache at the plate with no potential upside and he’s worse defensively. And he can’t get a bunt down (which is still mind-boggling to me given his skill set) while Pache can. And we’re trying to develop Pache whereas we should be trying to shuttle Ender to the glue factory.

    Hell, even Ryan stopped coming up with cockamamie trade proposals wherein somebody took on some of his salary a while ago!

  9. The key is the return of Soroka. If he comes back healthy and it sticks (I’ll believe it when I see it), then I think the team might be slightly above .500, say 3-4 games over. If not, the Phillies are going to win this division. Long term, also, the Braves are going to have to make a decision on CF, as well. Clearly Pache isn’t ready. Inciarte isn’t the answer either. I’d like to see the Braves go with Heredia full time when he returns from injury until the magic runs dry. After that, they’re going to have to look at a trade, IMO.

  10. @11

    Tornado Alley
    through all the rain you can see we’re still quite pally
    success requires a level of consistency
    like Freddie redux – persistent he.

  11. @14
    I agree about Soroka. If he can come back in June and be himself, that will boost the rotation. I just hope they don’t drop Yona and keep Smyly.

    I think you run Heredia and Inciarte and hope 4-6 weeks in Gwinnett can get Pache locked in.

  12. @12 and typically I have wanted Ender traded for a two liter of Mountain Dew and a bag of chips as much as anyone. Small sample size notwithstanding, he looked better this year than he has in a minute but I agree he isn’t the defender Pache. If the rest of the lineup is indeed ready to produce, the team can absorb the 8th spot black hole, whether it be Pache or Ender.

  13. @12
    I think there is merit to allowing a talent like Pache to develop. If that means returning him to the minors, I think that’s solid. I would get him back on track down there and trade him while we can sell high.

    In the meantime, I can’t help noticing that Ender tends to be an almost decent player when his contract is soon to be up. Play the hot hand if it’s there unless someone like Heredia is even hotter.

  14. @18 IMO Pache’s defense hasn’t shown to be anywhere near an 80 grade. I played CF from the day I played t-ball until I was good enough to play in college. He’s not a generational fielder. His timing isn’t great. Even last night, his timing was off going back to the wall. His arm also hasn’t shown to be anything but slightly above average at worst. Good at best.

    SO far, he’s not remotely approached advanced billing. My crystal ball doesn’t see much long term. He’s never going to hit enough to be more than a bit MLB’er, IMO. His bat speed is ponderous. He does have some pop, which he did develop but he doesn’t get through the zone nearly quick enough and he’s late on everything but a grooved fastball.

  15. Ender is among the worst position players in all of baseball. You do anything you possibly can to avoid playing him at any position other than pinch-runner. This “Ender isn’t so bad” lunacy will evaporate about three seconds into his first at-bat, so I’m not too worried about it as long as the team doesn’t actually do what you poor, misguided people are suggesting. You wanna send Pache down and give the job to Heredia for now? Fine, I suppose (though I wouldn’t send him down). But Ender should not even be on the roster. He is not the solution to any problem whatsoever.

  16. Interesting piece by Ken Rosenthal in “The Athletic” – we got lucky:

    “As the 2017 trade deadline neared, right-hander Huascar Ynoa wasn’t the Braves’ first choice when they asked the Twins for a pitching prospect in exchange for left-hander Jaime García. John Hart, the Braves’ former president of baseball operations, said the team initially wanted righty Nick Burdi, but the deal failed to materialize. At the time, Ynoa was 19 and still in rookie ball. Hart said the Braves were so eager to move García’s remaining salary of approximately $4.5 million, they did not do as much diligence on Ynoa as they normally would on a prospect. ”

    And one more from KR:
    “Ronald Acuña Jr. leads the majors with an .800 slugging percentage against non-fastballs (minimum 100 pitches). The Cubs’ Jason Heyward is last in that category at .028 – he’s 1-for-36 against non-fastballs overall.”

  17. @19
    So far, I would have to say that the eye test on Pache seems mostly conclusive. He may get more comfortable with time, he may even improve a lot with experience, but I’ve seen young players with as much or less minor league time, as young as 19, arrive looking far more polished in the field than what I’ve so far seen.
    I don’t claim that Pache won’t be good, but if anyone out there grades him to be a top-10 or top-20 prospect in all of baseball, I would make a trade where beneficial. I’m not convinced he will help us this year–not in CF.

  18. @12 Pache has a .349 OPS. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want even Ender at this point. Plus, dead cat bounce or not, Ender at least had a .721 OPS in his small sample before getting injured. But even at this point, a .600 OPS and cromulent CF would be a huge improvement over what we have right now. Wanting Ender back has nothing to do with Ender.

  19. @22 I think to the point that we put RAJ in center and Adrianza in right if necessary to put our best offense on the field.

  20. @24 The bar for improving the outfield is set so low you could do tons of things. You could stick Riley in LF, Sandoval at 3B, RAJ in CF, and Ozuna in RF and you might even come out ahead in the aggregate. Obviously getting Heredia back is the solution everyone can agree on.

  21. @25 True story. Getting Heredia back makes a huge difference. That being said, Ozuna’s arm in right would be a site to see…

    @26 agreed with and approved 1000 times. There was no reason not to sign him or Melancon.

  22. I’m struggling to understand the following

    If the Braves have managed to sign Greene for the deal being reported, how has someone else not already picked him up before now?

  23. @Chief

    You sure are giving me a whole lot of ammo!

    Statcast has Pache as 1 Out Above Average right now, which feels about right. He definitely hasn’t shown to be other-worldly, but I’ve seen him enough in the minors to believe in the skillset.

    Also, his footwork in the box right now is atrocious.

  24. @28 Same here. I don’t get it. Half of teams right now could use Shane Greene. How was $1.5M too lofty of a sum? That’s why I can’t say in the same breath that the Braves were cheap for not re-signing Melancon; the entire league was even more tight-fisted with a much better pitcher for less money.

  25. Moves…and why?

  26. And this has seemed inevitable for about 4 years now…

  27. 2019 Pache: “I’m 20 years old and hit .278 at AA.”
    Braves: “Great, take a year off then come play in the majors.”

  28. They’re pushing back Fried to Wednesday for some reason and either starting Wright or Wilson tomorrow.

  29. @29 I don’t care. He’s nowhere near an 80 grade fielder. He’s overrated as grits all the way around.

    And I am right about Gwinnett’s proximity being a detriment to the franchise, also.

  30. I think having your AAA team across town is a great thing for all involved. Players don’t have to find a new place to live. You need to fill an injury, boom! Someone is there in 45 minuets.

  31. Where I understand and even kind of agree with what Chief is talking about is in the ability to make moves every day to shuttle pitchers in and out pointlessly. There was no reason to call Jasseel de la Cruz up and there was equally no reason to send him back. But they did because they could. Have a long reliever who just went three innings in a game? Send him down to AAA with strict orders to not use him and call somebody else up. Does that screw over the pitcher since he’s now earning minor league salary for that week he’s down there and the Stripers since they now need to use a roster spot on a pitcher who can’t pitch? Who cares! Don’t wanna sign Shane Greene for less than $2 million? Surely we can figure out how to piece together a workable bullpen by just shuttling people in and out. It’s a crutch that isn’t helping the team at all, and I could easily find a way to argue that it’s actively hurting it.

    There are a lot of ways in which it’s a very good thing, but the way the Braves use it I don’t think is really particularly optimal for anybody involved.

    So I actually agree with Chief on this one, at least partially.

  32. There are 2 key questions in the Ender vs Pache debate:

    1) Probably most importantly, what will be best for Pache’s development? Trying to figure it out at the major league level or working on some things in AAA?

    2) Who would produce more over the rest of the season? What Pache has done to this point is largely irrelevant here, just as Ender’s few PAs so far in 2021 really say nothing about how he will perform going forward. If you ask me today, who is more likely to surpass .700 OPS the rest of the year, my money is still on Pache.

  33. Slow to catch on. So tell me please.

    Alanna Rizzo on High Heat. Wife? Daughter? W.H.Y.?

    Huge coup for Chris. Bright as a button, fluent, pretty as a peach, knows more about today’s baseball than you and I do.

    Where did she come from, please?

  34. @31, I assume having Camargo replace a reliever is to provide some in-the-field flexibility now that all our relievers will have had a day’s rest and some will have had two. For the Phillies series, our bench was Mathis, who can only catch, Panda, who I assume should only play first if that (seems like teams would bunt .600 if we put him at third), and Adrianza, who directly or indirectly backs up the other six positions (e.g., if Pache gets hurt, we move RAJ to CF and Adrianza to right). Especially if Snit pinch-hits Adrianza in the 6th or 7th inning to save Panda for later, a late-game injury could be a real problem. On Saturday, I think RAJ was knocked out of the game just after Adrianza had pinch-hit but still in the same half-inning, so Adrianza could stay in the game. What if instead of RAJ in the 7th, it had been Albies or Dansby hit when they batted in the 8th? Does Riley play second/short and Panda third? Also, if the team is going to keep such a small bench, I think Huascar Ynoa, pinch-hitter, should be a serious option, whether in a low-leverage situation early in a blowout or in extras when a bunt is not called for.

    Now why send down and bring up those particular individuals, I don’t know. I’d think Kazmar would be as useful as Camargo, but maybe it hasn’t been 10 days since the last time we sent him down. Hope Heredia is back soon.

  35. 1) I’m with coop. (Always, but particularly with regards to grits.)
    2) The Greene deal puzzles me as well. Here’s my complete guess. Greene wants to play in Atlanta. (Not at any price, mind you, but he has a preference.) Greene wanted more — a lot more. Nobody wanted to pay it. As the Braves bullpen looked horrid at the start of the season Greene’s agent figures he can wait out the Braves, figuring their price would go up as their bullpen cost them more and more games. But the bullpen turns out not to be the big(gest) problem, so the Braves say “Sorry. Still not interested.” Eventually, Greene, facing three months off or more before the Braves got serious, caves. This fits all the facts, but plenty of other stories do as well.

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