That game really was a perfect microcosm for the entire season in that the only thing to feel after it is frustration. Like so many games this year, that was one the Braves should have won. They led 4-0 in the first inning and even after falling behind 8-4, had ample opportunities to claw back into the game and never made it happen before ultimately falling 9-5 to the MIlwaukee Brewers.
Whether it was Touki Toussaint being one strike away from getting out of the third inning relatively unharmed or the terrible execution to lose a potential big inning in the fifth or wasting two baserunners with the middle of the order up in the seventh, that game was there for the taking.
But the Braves didnâ€™t take it, and that has been the biggest difference of this entire season from the previous three.
- Even beyond just tonight, the most positive development in this entire (seemingly) lost season has been Austin Rileyâ€™s growth at the plate. In four months he has gone from a player people were wondering about the future of to a cemented part of the core who is living up the potential he flashed in 2019. The red hot third baseman hit his 22nd home run of the season tonight with a first inning shot off Corbin Burnes.
- Joc Pederson is always going to be a very hot-and-cold player just by the nature of his splits and career streakiness, but tonight was a hot night. Three hits for the lead-off hitter including a double off Burnes.
- Josh Tomlin was good. No, seriously. He threw two clean innings while the game was still close.
- Welcome back, Adam Duvall! He even added an RBI on his return to the club.
- The Braves drew two walks off Corbin Burnes in the same inning! He only had 18 walks in 102 innings all season coming into action tonight. Hey, sometimes you have to take solace in the small victories.
- Itâ€™s all about the next start for Touki Toussaint now. Was tonight a blip on the radar against the hottest lineup in the league, one coming off a 28-run series in Pittsburgh? Or was it a sign of things to come after two great starts to open his 2021 account? Hopefully it was the former, but only time will tell after a brutal outing tonight.
- Speaking of brutal outings, I think we can go ahead and call the re-signing of Shane Greene a swing and a miss. A debacle, even. He has never found his footing this season and suddenly itâ€™s becoming clear why 29 other teams werenâ€™t interested in his services over the winter.
- The air really came out of the balloon on two plays in the fifth inning. First, it was Dansby Swanson hacking at the first pitch from new pitcher Brad Boxburger and flying out while representing the tying run. Then Stephen Vogt flew out to center, but Jackie Bradley Jr. threw out Austin Riley at third base to end the frame. Why even send Riley with two outs? Why test one of the best outfield arms in the league? The whole inning was a disaster and the Braves never really recovered from it.
- Itâ€™s really hard not to watch a bullpen as lethal as Milwaukeeâ€™s and wonder where this team could be with anything like that. Or think about where they were last year when this team actually did have something resembling that. Sigh.
- Dansby Swansonâ€™s error in the second inning didnâ€™t directly lead to a run, but it felt like a big play in the game. Swanson booted a tailor-made double play, and that allowed the Brewers to send two more batters to the plate and clear the pitcher in the second inning. Maybe it just wouldâ€™ve delayed the inevitable, but the four-run third inning the Brewers put together might never have been without the top of the order starting it off instead of the bottom two spots in the lineup.
- Sean Newcomb allowed five hits tonight and only recorded five outs. He amazingly only yielded one run, but are we about done here? Heâ€™s still the same pitcher he was in 2017, and at a certain point itâ€™s just unrealistic to expect further development or something different to pop up in his repertoire. He is who he is.
- All eight Milwaukee position players recorded a hit. Needless to say, itâ€™s pretty tough to get anywhere when that happens.
- 7-8 since the break and still no streak.The streak will be in jeopardy against Woodruff tomorrow, but itâ€™s almost unfathomable how long it has gone on.
- For a really brief moment there things felt good. Four trades today, one of them already in the lineup and a 4-0 lead out of the gate against one of the best teams in the National League. It kind of felt like there was some reason for optimism, but of course that was emphatically wiped off the page in the space of two innings.
Former Brave Of The Day:
He didnâ€™t play anywhere today, but Iâ€™m just going to give the nod to Bryse Wilson. Thank you for one of the most surreal, incredible starting pitching performances in Atlanta Braves history last October. I hope he cracks the starting rotation and thrives in Pittsburgh.
Quote Of The Game:
â€œYesterdayâ€™s home runs donâ€™t win todayâ€™s games.â€
— Babe Ruth
I would like to see Kyle Muller take Brandon Woodruff deep tomorrow for his first big league summer. Itâ€™s a longshot,but Woodruff himself once took Clayton Kershaw deep in a postseason game. We might as well dream of something extraordinary in the midst of this lost season.
I would like to point out a couple of other small positives to take away. First is that, for all the failure in run scoring situations last night, one guy did have success. Duvall knocked in a run in the 5th with 2 on and no outs. Even though he failed another time, he was the only one who was able to tack on a run after the 1st.
The other was Duvall’s OF assist. Duvall is already paying benefits on the first day of his ATL tenure.
Also, Vogt’s play on Duvall’s assist was beyond outstanding. I’ve long felt that that catcher skill has gotten lost in the quest to improve framing, pitcher calling, pitcher whispering, steal-stopping and the other catching skills whose relative value is on the rise. We lost a catcher this year already on a similar play. That was really well done by Vogt.
Speaking of dâ€™Arnaud, does anyone know why he left the AAA game early yesterday? That was his first game back.
The Braves often play bad and stupid baseball at the same time. Not near enough talent to get away with doing both. That is why your eyes speak much more accurately than numbers. I guess they win today.
I have been thinking – and yes, Rob, it hurts – that the Braves may have bought themselves another division title at a bargain price; but for all the positives Alan listed, the game is won or lost on the diamond. Yesterday’s gone, but if today and many tomorrows don’t produce better baseball fundamentals, the season is still lost.
Every team loses players to injury. Even favorite pandas grow old. Lombardi’s question is valid. From what I have seen this season, the answer is a resounding no.
If Touki throws great games twice out of every three then I’ll be very happy. I think last night was a “Folty meltdown”. Once it went bad, it only got worse. That is something he still needs to work on. But I’m not giving up because he had one bad outing out of three. And, after all, it was the Brewers not the Pirates.
Best case – Touki rebounds and is a great Braves pitcher for years to come.
Worst case – Ian Anderson returns from the IL and Touki never starts again.
Iâ€™m still pulling for Smyly-to-the-pen. More Smyly = More Wins.
3 â€” Hopefully the plan was to ease him back in with just 2 PAs.
If you see Smyly on the bump, itâ€™s basically a guaranteed dub.
Touki’s pitch mix is being mentioned as perhaps the cause for stinking it up yesterday.
Overuse of his sinker in comparison to the first two starts.