Not only was that the kind of win that can provide ignition for your entire season, it was as close to a team win as Iâ€™ve ever seen in baseball. The Braves used 19 different players there, and all of them played an enormous role in the outcome. You truly canâ€™t tell the story of that ridiculous baseball game without giving everyone a shoutout.
So instead of the usual format, I am going to recap this game player-by-player; everyone deserves to have their contributions highlighted after a win like that. These are in the order they appeared in the game, starting with Ian Anderson.
Ian Anderson: You canâ€™t ask for much more than he gave you after the first inning. After the Braves fell behind 2-0 it was fair to wonder if this was going to turn into another night like last nightâ€™s 12-2 loss, but he grinded hard to get through six innings.
Also letâ€™s not forget the double play he started in the fifth with runners on the corners and nobody out. Itâ€™s easy to forget in a game that had approximately a thousand other key moments after it, but that inning had serious potential to be the hammer blow with the Phillies already up 3-0. He held the score right there and set up everything that happened next.
Ronald AcuÃ±a Jr.: Alright, the elephant in the room. Ronnie was plunked again tonight for the third time this season and 24th time in his career already. Once again he dodged serious damage with just a lefty pinky contusion, but this has officially reached the point of being an issue. We know pitchers are going to try to jam him, but what do you do about it? Sooner or later if he keeps getting hit at this rate one of them will lead to a major injury.
Freddie Freeman: Our long national nightmare is over. The 2020 NL MVP snapped his 0-for-22 slump with a sixth inning home run. And just for good measure he stung the ball twice in his first two times up and drew two walks his last two times up. Heâ€™s not all the way back, but thatâ€™s a building block for sure.
Marcell Ozuna: This is going to sound like a stretch, but the walk he drew in the eighth inning was huge. The Braves didnâ€™t score in the inning, but that walk pushed the lineup card one spot further, which meant Adrianza got a chance to hit in the ninth with two outs instead of the game just ending on Cristian Pacheâ€™s lineout. Adrianza drew a walk, Panda went boom, and here we are.
Ozzie Albies: It didnâ€™t turn into a run, but the triple in the fourth inning was the first little flicker of life from the offense.He at least did something most Braves have struggled with this season in the 10th inning by moving the Manfred runner over to third with one out. Yes, I am calling it the Manfred runner now. You have a better name?
Austin Riley: The second best plate appearance of the entire game was his leading off the 12th. With the Braves down by three and the air out of the building, he battled to work a 10-pitch walk that brought the tying run to the plate. And not only that, it was a 10-pitch walk after he fell behind 0-2.He fouled off four pitches with two strikes; three fastballs and a slider. And on 3-2 he took a fastball, which to me is another sign of his maturity at the plate. That was a spot where the Braves desperately needed a baserunner in any way possible. Sure, his eyes probably got big when he saw he was getting a 3-2 fastball, but he stayed the course and took a walk instead of hacking.
And while weâ€™re talking about Riley, that was one of four walks he took tonight. Four! In one game! For the player we have all bemoaned for a lack of plate discipline over the last two years! He even added a single for good measure and took that wicked hop line drive in the 12th inning like a champ. He just might have been the player of the game tonight.
Dansby Swanson: Iâ€™m not going to sit here and pretend Swanson had a great night; that first pitch pop-out after a four-pitch walk in the fourth inning was terrible on every level and he was 0-for-4 in regulation. But he did keep the line moving in the 12th inning with a single and came around to score the tying run on a ball that did not look like it would plate three runs. Better late than never.
William Contreras: My goodness, that three-run double. That was unquestionably the biggest moment of his young career, and it might stay that way for a while. Be honest: Did you have faith he would come through with a big hit after the night he had at the plate? I definitely didnâ€™t. But by god, he found a way, and his slide into third on Pacheâ€™s bunt was absolutely crucial. We might still be playing without his hand getting in there! Shoutout to him for catching 207 pitches from seven different pitchers tonight, too.
Cristian Pache: Speaking of that bunt, it was the perfect time for it. He got it down into a good spot and gave the runner a chance to move up. Thatâ€™s really all you want in that situation, especially from a struggling young hitter.
Grant Dayton: Top of the seventh, two on and two out for Bryce Harper, Phillies up 3-1. Grant Dayton strikes Harper out with a 2-2 curveball to end the threat. You could easily forget that even happened, but the Phillies had their best hitter at the plate with a chance to put the game out of reach right there and Dayton held the fort.
Ehire Adrianza: He checked into the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh and reached base four times. I know everyone wants to talk about him tying the game in the 11th and winning it in the 12th, but I want to discuss that walk in the 9th. Earlier I said Rileyâ€™s walk in the 12th was the second best plate appearance of the game; this was the best.
There were two outs and nobody on base with the Braves down 3-1, and at that point the Phillies had a 99.8% win probability. Ninety-nine point eight. 998 times out of 1,000 in that situation, the game is over.
Adrianza fell behind 0-2. He took two splitters, fouled off a fastball and another splitter, then took two more splitters for ball four. Thatâ€™s six pitchesâ€”and only one fastballâ€”he saw with the Braves down to their final strike. None of the extra inning heroics wouldâ€™ve been possible without this right here.
And I guess while weâ€™re here, he put pressure on Didi Gregorious with a chopper in the 11th that led to the game-tying error, and he did walk it off (again with two strikes) in the 12th. Where would this team be without him?
Josh Tomlin: Alright, he didnâ€™t actually do anything but stand at first base as a pinch runner after AcuÃ±a exited. But he saved Brian Snitker a bench bat, and that really mattered later.
Luke Jackson: Heâ€™s the most erratic reliever on the roster, but he chose a really good time for a 1-2-3 inning! Maybe we shouldâ€™ve known there was magic in the air after the unicorn that is a clean Luke Jackson inning appeared before our eyes in the eighth.
Tyler Matzek: Just like Jackson, a 1-2-3 inning when the situation demanded it. The â€œholdâ€ stat is pretty useless a lot of times, but it definitely mattered in this game.
Pablo Sandoval: The man. The myth. The legend. The Panda. What else is there to say? Itâ€™s May 9th and he already has four pinch-hit home runs this season. All of them have been against divisional opponents, all of them have been in the sixth inning or later, all of them have either given the Braves the lead or tied the game, and the Braves went on to win three of those four games. I think a lot of us raised an eyebrow when he was signed as a bench bat, but he has been a major part of this team this season. Long live the panda.
Will Smith: Easily one of his best outings of the season. He got Hoskins-Harper-Realmuto out in order with two runners on base in a tie game in the 10th. The 2-2 slider he threw to strike Hoskins out in particular was vintage Smith. In fact, he got all three of his outs on sliders. Isnâ€™t it a thing of beauty when a pitcherâ€™s best pitch actually performs like his best pitch?
AJ Minter: He did give up the lead on a Nick Maton RBI double, but he also held the fort after that to keep it 4-3. So much of extra innings with the new rules is just about damage control. Sure, the Manfred runner might score, but can you keep a second or third runner from scoring to give your offense a chance? Minter did that with a big out against Scott Kingery.
Max Fried: He came in to bunt, he got the bunt down, and he didnâ€™t slide headfirst into home plate with his pitching hand. A successful outing for Atlantaâ€™s designated starting pitcher pinch hitter.
Jacob Webb: Alright, I know what youâ€™re going to say. Yes, he loaded the bases in the 12th. Yes, he got a tailor-made double play in a comebacker and airmailed the throw home. Yes, he forgot to cover home plate and allowed another run to score, then another one after a hit. If you have a kid who plays in little league who you think couldâ€™ve done better on that play, I wonâ€™t argue with you. It was one of the worst exhibitions in pitcher fielding Iâ€™ve ever seen.
But you know what happened with the Braves down 7-4 and the middle of the lineup still up for the Phillies? He got Alec Bohm to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and Didi Gregorious to ground out.
Because if on some miracle of miracles the Braves went into the bottom of the 12th and scored four times, those runs needed to matter. Scoring four doesnâ€™t help if youâ€™re down five or six, but it can create something pretty special if youâ€™re only down three.
The Braves were only down three thanks to Webb.
What happened next was pretty special.
Like a real fan, I went to sleep after the 10th. Youâ€™re welcome everyone.
Thank you, Alan. Well written.
An excellent summary, Alan, and you picked the right game to vary your template.
As I commented at the end of the last thread, giving Albies credit for a productive out in the 10th is stretching it a bit, and you always have to double-check your reasoning when Chip agrees with you. Nonetheless it was a (very) marginally positive play.
Love that recap, Alan. Thank you! What a game.
I went to bed with 1 out in the 9th and two strikes on Pache. I regret nothing, but that’s a heck of a set of highlights to wake up to.
Whoever is saying that the Braves need to “do something” about Acuna getting hit all the time, what do you want them to do? What makes Snitker not “Bobby Cox enough” in this situation? Pitchers pitch inside. Don’t like it? Don’t stand on the plate. Acuna does a tremendous job of taking the outer half away from pitchers, but he leaves himself extremely vulnerable on pitches inside. That’s baseball. Are they supposed to put one on Harper’s butt because of this?
Since 2015, Panda accumulated a total of -1.6 fWAR. He has 0.4 fWAR right now. He has a 40% HR/FB ratio. I wonder if there has ever been a player accumulate 2 fWAR with a huge percentage of their ABs coming as a PH.
I was one of the many voices critical of keeping Panda and Adrianza as primary bench bats. I thought they should ignore spring stats and keep Lamb, primarily because he had a better chance of hitting pinch homers. Even at his best, I thought, Sandoval is no power hitter.
As usual, shows what I know.
As someone who for years was employed as an expert, I will show you all how to be an expert without committing yourself, which is probably the biggest survival skill any expert can have. https://bravesjournal.mystagingwebsite.com/2021/01/22/farewell-henry/#comment-2358965 and my comment immediately following.
Outstanding recap, Alan!
Been lurking here for 10+ years folks. Great job with the new chapter of Braves Journal, Ryan and team.
Hope last night was a spark.
@6 – Not necessarily butt or Harper, but Willis and Thomas were both pretty emphatic on that question after the game. Willis said something like, â€œTwo straight up and in on our best player [especially from a pitcher heâ€™d just homered off], and Iâ€™m cutting bacon next inning.â€ Iâ€™d never heard â€˜cutting baconâ€™ in a baseball context before, but from his hand movements, I took it to mean sending a message or two high, hard, and tight. They specifically mentioned Realmuto.
Shane Greene, 1 year deal between $3 and 5M.
What a difference 24 hours makes. Shane Greene gives us a merciful, non-Jacob Webb RH option.
If Martin can come back, a big if, then the bullpen is pretty solid; if he can’t, then you’ll need to make a trade, but it’s only spot instead of two.
I don’t believe in throwing at hitters just because they show you up, and I don’t believe in throwing at hitters because a guy accidentally hits somebody, and I don’t believe in throwing at hitters because they are pitching inside.
But if a guy comes up and in on consecutive pitches and hits a guy who homered off him the last meeting, I’m going to take that as on purpose. And if I can motivate Bryce Harper and/or J.T. Realmuto to help convince a pitching staff to knock that off, I’m going to do it.
Chris Martin will also be back soon.
Now The Main question remains!!
Why can’t Brian Snitiker realize that by Placing Freddy Freman in the third position of the Batting order could produce. A greater Hitting potential for the Braves Ossie allies and Ronald Acuna are the Spark of the Atlanta Braves. Than Freddy Freman Batting 3rd and Marcel Ozuna. Would produce additional run Potential just like during The 2020 Season. Put Freddy Freman back into. Batting 3rd And Leave him there. During The 2018 and 2019 Season tinkered around with Ossie Albies and Ronald Acuna untill he found a Winning Formula . Do the same in 2021 By placing Freddy Freman in the 3rd position of the Batting order. Problem solved for The top of the Lineup that has been successful start doing it Tonight May 9th, 2021 the Braves need to be Restarted build on May 8th extra inning game .or Put Publo Sandoval at First base or Reily there and keep Sandoval in the Lineup each time he is put in to pitch hit he hits A home Run or a game Winning hit . Brian Snitiker please wake up and smell the Coffee try it You might like it Give Freddy Freman a other rest the team needs it.
Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune in Boyton Beach FLORIDA. â›±.
Has someone verified that Philly was throwing at Acuna? I havenâ€™t seen that anywhere.
In what universe is Greene only worth $1.5M prorated, which is like $2M over the entire season? I donâ€™t understand some reliever contracts sometimes.
AT MLBTR, they still mention adding at the deadline. Everyone knows the big addition will be Soroka when it happens. I’ll go back to my currently desired pitching corps.
with Newcomb and Dayton and de la Cruz and Arano and others in reserve. THAT is a competitive pitching staff. Dayton and Jackson will continue to be the beneficiaries of the options game.
If Bill is an editor for a newspaper, why is his writing so… bad?
AA should have made the Greene deal from the beginning. Melancon got $1.5M, why shouldn’t Greene?
Signing Greene in the beginning would make it more logical to let Duvall go (no DH) along with Melancon (formerly very expensive) and O’Day (aging) to be able to sign someone like Smyly. Maybe not Smyly but someone like him. Someone worth $11M.
Now, we might be able to consider the offseason complete. Get Martin, Greene, and Soroka back and this team will turn into a winner. Right now, just treading water. Even with the hitters not in sync, we’re scoring 5 runs per game.
For all the kvetching during the offseason and the first part of the season and, here we are with Flowers and Greene back in the mix.
@18 – I don’t know how you verify that, unless they admit it. Historically this is the type of circumstance that teams conclude is intentional. The Braves surely have better info on this than I do, for sure.
According to the radio guys, Ozzie is hitting better batting cleanup. Like the batting average is significantly higher.
Lots of Braves tidbits today:
Watch out, Dansby/
Braves have a pitcher at Low A in his first year stateside that is worthy of keeping both eyes on:
AcuÃ±a in lineup!
He wasnâ€™t throwing at Acuna, but Iâ€™m pitching Harper inside tonight.
Greene is a massive pick up
Said it before and I’ll say it again – if the Good Lord made anything better than beating up on the Phillies, He kept it to Himself.
OK, the statcast booth petitioning the Braves organist into playing Castlevania music might be the best part of the season so far.
@25. Wow that’s easy gas.
Since Chief said the Braves would win 70 games or some nonsense, Atlanta has outscored its opponent 13-5.
I canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m saying this, but when does Ender get back? Itâ€™s really tough watching Pache. That kid ainâ€™t ready.
How about that Huascar?
Matzek in with a 4 run lead. His and Minterâ€™s arms may fall off by July.
Incredible play by Matzek. Wow.
@35 Theyâ€™ll probably see a reduced workload once Greene, Martin, Newcomb and hopefully Smyly join the pen.
Wish we could see what De La Cruz has.
Ynoa is something else. For all our whining about pitching prospects, Ynoa almost comes out of the blue. If you can dig up an Ynoa every now and then it’s not so bad when an Allard or Wright fails to live up to the hype.
And Freddie looked really good tonight – maybe he fixed something in the cage earlier. Really only need Ozuna to get going and we’ll be in the pink.
I can’t say how good it feels to have a normal, average, winning performance with no particular drama.
The gNats broadcast team may be about to improve.
Amazing recap by Alan! That must have taken hours of research to come up with all those situational details.