Us 2, Them 1

On paper, the matchup — Touki Toussaint vs. Yu Darvish — did not look overwhelmingly favorable.

Then Touki literally pitched the best game of his career.

Touki is only 25, but it feels like he’s been around forever and his window rapidly appears to be closing. Prior to tonight, he had literally only made two starts with a Game Score over 60 — in fact, he had only made two starts in which he completed six innings of work: his 2018 debut, in which he twirled a sparkling six-inning two-hitter, yielding just one run, and this game last year, when he pitched six near-flawless innings but then lost the plot when Snitker sent him out for the seventh.

I remember that game: it’s the day that I began to believe that Touki could be a real starting pitcher. Unfortunately, prior to tonight’s callup, he hadn’t been able to do much to reinforce that belief over the past 11 months.

Until tonight: 6 2/3 innings, three hits, and just one run, against one of the best teams in baseball. Then, somehow, Matzek, Martin, and Smith got the last seven outs, shutting the door.

I’m going to quote at length from Keith Law’s scouting report of Touki’s gem last year, because it was exactly what made him successful tonight:

Toussaint was 93-95 mph with a very effective split-change anywhere from 83-88 mph and two breaking balls, a short slider at 83-87 mph and a two-plane curveball at 74-79 mph, giving up just a few hard-hit balls… This is the guy his believers all thought he could be when he was a first-rounder in 2014, translating his athleticism into more consistency with his delivery and his stuff.

It’s a good thing he showed up, because Darvish was as advertised, and the Braves managed the exact same five-hit total that the Padres did, the difference in the game being provided by Freddie’s sixth-inning solo shot. Don’t look now, but he’s the same old Fredward. Since June 1, he’s hitting .340/.414/.574, which is looking more like his MVP pace last year of .341/.462/.640.

We’ve got a one-game winning streak!

51 thoughts on “Us 2, Them 1”

  1. Great win and brilliant bullpen management by Snitker. I’m kind of kidding but if it works it doesn’t matter who you put in the game and it applies in the other direction too. Unfortunately, as noted, the options have been incredibly limited.

    We’ve been saying it all year but if we could only build in the momentum of this game!

  2. Helluva performance from Touki and, yes, Freddie’s on fire.

    OK, now let’s take 2 — hey, a fellow can dream…

  3. I will take a split and another series win. Keep winning series and keep moving forward.

  4. The pitching match-ups aren’t terrible today. We COULD be above .500 by the end of the day. And 85 wins might win this division so that’s important.

    Do you think Morton would yield a comp pick next year? Like the lesser comp pick? That might be similar to what he yields in a trade.

  5. DOB just tweeted that Bryce Wilson is starting game 2 today. I thought it was Morton. If DOB is right . . . why? Just–why?

  6. Anyone know what the stats say on two-hole hitters? Always had a theory that you want someone who stays of double-plays, but know the conventional wisdom was to get a contact hitter.

    Dansby is kind of neither, but just curious.

  7. @12: I haven’t really studied this, but I think the modern theory is that batting order doesn’t matter very much. Back when stolen bases were a thing, and leadoff batters were guys that could steal a base, then good bat control and the ability to take a strike and still not be overmatched were valuable things in a #2 hitter. I’m not even sure “not hitting into double plays very much” is even a skill any more…. though it is obviously negatively correlated with “is really slow,” which is still an anti-skill.

  8. Grounder-prone righties mainly, I remember Chris Johnson having something obscene like 20% one year.

  9. @12 I can’t produce research right now, and it might be out of date, but I think the accepted sabermetric wisdom was that your three best hitters should hit second, fourth, and first, in that order. I don’t remember why. I kind of think it was a TangoTiger bit of research?

  10. I see many references to the.following pitchers having major league stuff, they just need to make the appropriate adjustments. Control in and out of the strike zone being the major one.
    These are the four. Toussaint, Wright, Wilson and Newcomb. Newcomb will never be a major league pitcher. Very few certified nut jobs are.

  11. Pederson did get a good jump on that ball… but he did not take a very good route.

  12. I didn’t see the wild pitch but I can only assume it is another ball that catcher extaordinaire Kevan Smith should have blocked

  13. @8, since it seems like we’ll need more extra pitchers with the doubleheader with the Mets coming up on the weekend, you might as well start the ones who are less likely to go deep into the game in the 7-inning games.

  14. …and I’m the first one out of the contest, though my pitchers did make it through 1-1/3 innings before giving up runs. My “pick people you think won’t get to pitch, whether it’s because Snit won’t trust them or because they won’t close if we’re not winning or because they’ve pitched lots recently” strategy apparently didn’t work too well.

  15. Chip assumes they’re going to pinch hit for Greene. Don’t be so sure. Since he must have been brought in for some reason, I assume it’s to hit.

    [Chip was right. I was wrong. Last time I’m writing that this year.]

  16. @25 because it’s Snit calling the shots. I don’t understand why Muller was taken out for him.

  17. Freddie just knocked a single after a ten-pitch at-bat. And Albies knocked a low and away fastball off the right-field wall. I don’t know why in the world Dansby is giving away free outs in the 2-hole, but those two guys can make any pitcher look bad.

  18. 30 — Yeah, probably should move Ozzie to 2nd instead, Riley back to 4th, and Dansby down.

  19. @34 From the pirates, for cash, if memory serves me correctly.

    Edit: I was right, he was serving a PED suspension at the time.

    Edit 2: scoring just enough to lose again….disappointing

  20. I love my Atlanta Braves, but good gosh, there are so many holes in this roster.

  21. I would note that even Chip seems to have soured on the miracle of La Gran Calabaza, noting that his heroics came in April. April may seem like a long time ago, but we had about the same percentage record, so really it’s the same thing.

  22. @44 That Boar’s Head cheese is indeed legit. Man, you’ve been on a roll lately.

  23. I just had a thought. For you youngsters, you may not remember this. I just remembered it because the Braves are playing the Pads at home.

    My dad took me to this game for my birthday, which was and still is one day prior. I seem to recall that either A. it rained almost the whole way from Tallapoosa County, AL to Atlanta and my dad thought it would be rained out and wanted to turn around and go home… or B. we got stopped in traffic near Newnan for what seemed like hours because of a bad wreck.

    Most baseball fights are kind of lame. This one wasn’t. It was a donnybrook. I seem to remember someone poured a beer on I believe Bevacqua, but I’m aging and I don’t quite remember.

  24. Reality raises its ugly head. A 234 and dropping hitter batting second. A left fielder (the savior) hitting 200.
    And a reliever with a 10 plus era coming in a critical part of the game.
    But a win in the second game equals a sucessful series.
    The Braves have two very good players (starters). Freeman and Albies. Three when Acuna is three. Three on the whole roster. That’s it. Riley, no no no. His horrible fielding reduces him to okay.
    He is a DH. Acuna is the only great player.
    Unless you as most label those who don’t deserve it with the great label.
    They have no very good pitchers. None.
    The manager and coaches are average or below. Ownership sucks. Front office is a B at best. Therefore you have a sub five hundred team. Who needed Duvall with his 21 HR’s 76 RBI’s? Not Atlanta. Better we have Arcia. The Braves should set a goal of 81 wins.

  25. Unless we answer back with runs Wilson should be the “take one for the team” role and pitch 4 or 5 no matter how many he gives up to save the pen

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