Your First Place Atlanta Braves 8, Reds 6

This is getting fun.  Just a week ago, the Braves finally broke the odd streak of non-streaks by winning 2 games in a row.  In defeating the Reds 8-6 last night, they won their 7th of the last 8, and they now have their first 8-2 stretch of the season.  We can now refer to the streaking Atlanta Braves—and it’s the right kind of streaking. 

Oh, and because the Phillies lost to the Dodgers again, they are now tied for first. The Mets are just a game back.  We’ve got us a full fledged pennant race. 

Much like the entire 2021 season, last night’s win was not pretty.  Our guys blew a 5-0 lead.  After building that lead through three innings, we witnessed perhaps the worst instance of hibernation mode all season.  From the third to the 11th inning, they only got one hit. In very 2021 fashion, they failed to score in the bottom of the 9th and 10th when they had the winning run on third.

The bullpen gave up a total of 4 runs.  Most significantly, Will Smith blew the save for the 2nd time in 3 games when he surrendered a game tying 2 run homer to Votto in the 9th.  In his past 3 appearances, he’s given up 5 runs, 5 hits, 2 homers, 2 walks, and hit a batter.  Y’all should feel free to continue the discussion in the comments regarding his fitness as a closer.  He’s certainly not a Fresh Prince any more; can we call him Hancock for the drunken superhero who never seems to be able to save anyone?

Yes, there was a lot that was ugly in this game.  But after all that unpleasantness, Ozzie Albies supplied a moment of pure beauty and joy in the bottom of the 11th.  Santana had given up a Manfred run in the top of the frame to give the Redlegs a 6-5 lead.  Of course the Braves started the bottom of the inning with the tying run on second.  But by the time Ozzie strode to the plate there were two outs with two runners on (give Pederson credit for a two out walk, allowing Albies to come to the plate). The count went to 2-1, and as Chip would and did say, the Braves were down to their last two strikes.  Ozzie then crushed a fastball deep into the right field stands for the come from behind 8-6 victory.

The Braves drafted Lucas Sims in the first round in the 2012 draft.  The Gwinnett native never established himself with the Atlanta club, but he’s found a home as a reliever for Cincinnati.  I’m pleased for him.  I’m especially pleased that the best pitch he ever threw for the Braves was that 2-1 fastball to Ozzie.

The Braves built that early 5-0 lead behind two doubles by Riley, who drove in two and scored one himself, and a mammoth two run shot by the swashbuckler Heredia.

Touki Toussaint started the game and pitched pretty well.  For some reason, I’m particularly fond of Touki.  As we all know, he has big league stuff, but he will need to command it consistently to be a productive big league pitcher.  In that regard, he’s much like Sean Newcomb.  But I gave up on Newcomb long ago, while I still have fond hopes for Touki turning into a star. Last night, he was not as sharp as his first two starts, but he did shut them out through five innings.  His command wasn’t great, though, and his pitch count grew into the 90’s by the 6th.  In that frame he grazed Castellanos with a pitch and then surrendered a two run homer to Votto.  Joey went 4 for 4 with the two 2 run dingers.  He’s been crushing the ball for the last month or so.

Which brings me to this week’s criticism of Chip (and Frenchy this time).  On more than one occasion, they noted that Votto has somehow rediscovered his power stroke from his earlier years in the league.  It’s true that Votto is on the downward slope of the aging curve, but for whatever reason in the past month he has recaptured his earlier success (it happens to most stars for some stretches). They both indicated, however, that until recently he seemed to prefer to “take his walks” rather than try to hit home runs.  Do they not realize that being selective at the plate and hitting for power are not mutually exclusive?  In fact, the greatest power hitters very carefully choose not to swing at balls that they cannot drive.  Do they not remember Barry Bonds?  Even worse, at one point, Chip compared Votto once again to Tony Gwynn, suggesting that like Gwynn, Votto had chosen until recently not to try to hit home runs.

Anyway, the facts don’t bear out their observations in the slightest. The last big power year for Votto (before this year) was 2017, when he hit 36 home runs and walked 134 times (a BB% of 19%).  In 2019, he only hit 15 home runs, but it wasn’t because he was walking more.  He had 76 base on balls, with a BB% of 12.5.  Votto is a great hitter because he gets on base at a higher rate than any of his contemporaries (career OBP of .417) and he hits for very good power (career SLG .520). He’s never been remotely like Tony Gwynn as a hitter.

  *   *   *

In this space I often look for events in baseball history on this date, or perhaps birthdays of significant players.  I’ve written fondly of Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou, and Rico Carty on or around their birthdays.  Yesterday was the birthday of Melky Cabrera.  I’ve got nothing new to say about him. 

 *   *   *

Today at 5:00, the Hammers go for the sweep behind Kyle Muller.  Now that they have found their way to first place, might as well stay there.

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

40 thoughts on “Your First Place Atlanta Braves 8, Reds 6”

  1. Wow, tfloyd. “The best pitch he ever threw for the Braves” That’s gold.
    The Braves better continue streaking in order to be able to match your recaps.

    And Hancock. Yes.

  2. Welll ESPN still thinks a P comes before a A in alphabet .. they have the Phils listed on top ..I know we are tied but thats why I have the SCORE app .. that Atlanta looks good on top .. hadnt been able to enjoy that this year .. we are 1 good closer from being in the hunt to get deep in playoffs .. WE DO NOT HAVE A GUY with lights out stuff .. 98 with a cutter and changeup that make hitters look silly .. we dont have that ..may be time to Matzek and RR a shot

  3. I’m in on Hancock, so now I want to rename any appearance in which a reliever gives up the lead, but leaves the game tied, a “Hancock Hold.” It has a sort of masturbatory quality to it.

  4. Sic transit gloria mundi, and thus passeth the memory of the Vulture.

  5. Hey, here’s an interview with the two lead actors from The Adventures of Pete & Pete which includes a lengthy digression into how much it sucks to be a Mets fan:

    Q: Are you, in your actual life, an Unwritten Rules of Baseball guy, the kind who wants to win The Right Way?

    Maronna: I know that that’s the character that I played, and I’m going to try and raise my son like that character.

    Tamberelli: He’s the kind of guy that I know would never take a called third strike looking to potentially go to the World Series.

    Maronna: No, I’m no Carlos Beltrán. But then again, I also did not have to quit just after being announced as Mets manager due to a horrible scandal.

    Tamberelli: Well, that’s because you’re not a cheater, buddy. Bring it all full circle.

    https://www.theringer.com/tv/2021/8/11/22618601/the-adventures-of-pete-and-pete-interview-michael-maronna-danny-tamberelli

  6. I don’t know if recappers are trying to 1-up each other this year, but geez, you all are incredible.

  7. @2: maybe ESPN has the Phillies above the Braves in the standings because we’re 7-9 against them.

  8. In European soccer, the run differential dictates who’s on top if tied in points. So 1 Braves, 2 Phillies.

  9. So the Dodgers and Phillies play today at 1 eastern. Hopefully by 5 PM, when our game starts today, we’ll be in first place all alone. The Mets have already started game 1 of their twin bill.

  10. Article about Snit in Sports illustrated. Headline: “He’s Old-School. He Doesn’t Do Analytics. And He’s Thriving in Today’s MLB.”

  11. It’s a lovely profile, but I’m about to complain about it for a while. Encourage you all to PgDn from my comment and just read the SI piece.

    It trafficks in a lot of the hoary Hollywood jocks vs. nerds stuff that hasn’t been true in well over a decade. I’m sure Snitker isn’t particularly analytically-minded, but the author seems to feel that Snitker’s story will be more memorable if he hypes the outdated Moneyball dichotomy.

    For example: “In 2003, Michael Lewis’s Moneyball came out, popularizing the data-centric approach of the A’s. As other teams embraced new concepts, Atlanta stayed the course. The Braves were then in the midst of an 11-season postseason streak, led by Bobby Cox, who’d taken over for Tanner in 1990 and was as old-school as they came.”

    That’s not fair to Cox. It’s not so much that Bobby Cox was old-school as that he was old; he started managing in the 1970s, and by 2003 he was in his fourth decade of managing. Chris Jaffe notes that, along with Tony La Russa and Dennis Eckersley, Bobby Cox essentially invented modern reliever specialization, and his approach to platooning was relatively modern. If Cox changed the game, influenced everybody, and then continued to succeed, it’s not exactly accurate to call him “as old-school as they came.”

    Frankly, Cox was more flexible and willing to adapt than many of his younger contemporaries like Ron Gardenhire and Mike Scoscia. (It’s frankly amazing to see the author refer to Joe Maddon in a list of “some of the old guard,” considering that a few years back, he literally epitomized a lot of articles about how he was the one new-school manager among a gaggle of fogies — it just shows you how ageless and useless this stupid manichaean analytics-vs-old-school dichotomy truly is.)

    But then there’s the fact that we all learned in Moneyball: the manager can only affect so much. Michael Lewis described that in the context of Billy Beane replacing Art Howe, who was viewed as more independent-minded, with Ken Macha, who was viewed as more receptive to front-office-dictated strategy. So even if Snitker is less analytically-minded than his bosses and managerial colleagues, it wouldn’t matter that much either way.

    Of course, nowadays, virtually every manager other than La Russa is understood to take many of his marching orders from the top. The game has fully changed. So even if Snitker is the Last Old-School Man Standing or something, it wouldn’t much matter. As long as the men in the clubhouse respond to him, he brings a lot more positives than negatives. The moment he loses the clubhouse — which, honestly, it seemed sort of like he was close to, earlier this summer — he’ll deserve the ax. Whatever happens, he seems like a good guy and I’m glad he’s had some good things happen. Lord knows he put in the time!

    https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/08/12/braves-brian-snitker-better-late-daily-cover

  12. Snitker has a bench coach to handle “advanced strategy” (whatever that is): Walt Weiss. (Weiss is 8 years younger than Snit and 11 years older than Gabe Kapler, if that means anything, which I doubt.) Does Weiss gives the latest sabermetrically-informed advice? Who knows? If he does, does Snit accept it or overrule him? Who knows? How often? Who knows? What difference does it make? Who knows? Way too much determinism from way too little information.

  13. With the Iowa game tonight and the Braves having done the Fort Bragg game recently it got me thinking. I think it would be good for MLB to take one 2 or 3 game series from each clubs normal home games and stage it at an alternate site. Would be a great way to grow the game and could help offset some of the goodwill lost when they cut minor league teams depriving areas of professional baseball. They don’t all have to be gimmick games, many could just be at minor league/college stadiums.

  14. Dang, Phillies beat the Dodgers 2 to 1. Dodgers loaded the bases in the 9th but couldn’t score.

  15. That’s a moving piece about Snit and all he went through to get where he is. It demonstrates pretty well why he is a successful MLB manager. He’s Bobby Cox-like in dealing with people and managing the clubhouse. And that is high praise indeed.

    But I agree completely with Alex and Jonathan about the tired and lazy trope in the article. It’s not accurate, and it is not fair to Snit or the Braves. The organization under AA is as data-driven as any, and it’s the front office decisions that really matter in that regard.

  16. It’s his name, t. How could you not love Touki Toussaint? It would be like hating the Fruit Loops toucan.

    Follow your nose.

    I want to extend Ozzie now and pay him what he is really worth. Like Ryan says, it ain’t my money.

  17. According to Baseball Reference “Touki” is a nickname. Dude has amazing hair and is very handsome. I’m in favour of an all-handsome rotation.

  18. Boy, Duvall did not cover himself with glory on that play. It’s going to go down as a hit because scorekeepers hate calling errors unless the fielder gets a glove on it, but he screwed up.

  19. Muller has apparently developed an inability to throw the fastball where he wants it. I think that’s why he is relying too much on the slider.

    Edit—At least that’s what Chip and Jeff are saying. I think they are right. Remember his last start when he looked like Nuke LaLoosh?

  20. @31 he is the gas man. Let him pitch 3 or 4 innings and get bombed to save the pen and then dfa him tomorrow

  21. The obligatory “Tomlin sucks”!!

    India looks like a swashbuckling Pirate.

    Who is Hancock?

  22. @33, Hancock is this movie — Will Smith plays an alcoholic, unwilling superhero. Imagine if Superman was a depressed drunken mess.

    @32,

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