Braves clobber Nationals 12-2

“Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Put up some crooked numbers. This is a depleted Washington pitching staff and probably the deepest lineup the Braves have had since April. Make it count.”

Mission accomplished. The Braves did not only what they needed to do against this Washington team, but what they needed to do given the recent workload for the bullpen. Dansby Swanson knocked in five runs, Ozzie Albies extended his home run streak to four and Max Fried was dominant in a 12-2 victory for the Braves.

More of that tomorrow, please. 


  • Remember earlier this week when Ozzie Albies was struggling? Neither do I. Four straight games with a homer, and he had hits from both sides of the plate tonight for good measure. His right-handed swing might be the prettiest swing of any player on this roster. 
  • Remember earlier this season when Dansby Swanson was struggling? Neither do I. His wRC+ since July 4th is 154 (!!) and his OPS is (.975). The whole dichotomy of Dansby Swanson is you never ride your highs too high or your lows too low, but this is about as high as it’s ever been for him. The slugging shortstop knocked in six more runs and clubbed two home runs tonight.
  • Max Fried was good all night, but his strikeout on Juan Soto in the sixth was the best of it. That curveball he dropped in was sublime, as he was all night. He is in a groove right now. 
  • Speaking of Soto, he struck out three times tonight for just the 12th time in 435 career games including the postseason. He took some swings that were very un-Soto like tonight, and I mean that in the best way possible for the Braves. 
  • Freddie Freeman snapped his 1-for-18 funk with two hits and a walk. Not that you were worried, though. 
  • Welcome back, Jacob Webb. He’s probably only here until Tuesday, but it was still nice to see him toss a clean 9th inning. 
  • An even dozen strikeouts for the Atlanta pitching staff tonight. That’ll play. 
  • All of the big arms in the bullpen got a much-needed off night tonight. Hopefully they can grab another one with a big win tomorrow and go into the Miami series completely fresh. 
  • The Braves are 11-4 against the Nationals this season. That’s a refreshing change of pace from the grueling grinds the last half decade has been against them.


  • Even in a very low leverage spot, AJ Minter walked two batters. His control issues have plagued him all season, and it’s fair to wonder if the Gwinnett stint actually resolved that issue.

Former Brave Of The Day: 

Jace Peterson had two hits in an RBI in one game of Milwaukee’s doubleheader and had to be a position player pitching in the other. One blowout win and one blowout loss. The duality of Jace. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“Hotter than a dancing bobcat.”

— Joe Simpson 

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Sweep this team. They’re absolutely reeling right now. Correct the mistake of last weekend and take all three games against them.

74 thoughts on “Braves clobber Nationals 12-2”

  1. As much as I hated seeing Minter repeat his pattern of a great start to an inning and then floundering, he got it back on the last hitter (3 outs; 3 Ks). According to Fangraphs, our best four relievers in order of WAR are Matzek, Minter, Smith, and Chavez. The only other one I might add to that list for “goodness” is RichRod due to his small sample size thus far. Minter was nearly flawless at Gwinnett and his problems continue to stem from the same thing. His splitter is almost never a strike; he relies on swings and misses of a non-strike. If he cannot get ahead with his fastball then he has a high probability of a walk. Note that of his five batters, none put the ball in play. Against his last batter, he did actually throw a splitter for a strike and then he benefitted from a swing and miss of a ball in the dirt to end it.

    Of course, Minter’s strand rate is atrocious. He is only effective beginning an inning.

  2. Estes with a 4H 2 R complete game in Augusta striking out 14.
    We have some exciting pitching prospects in the next or second to next wave of pitchers.

  3. Braves have back to back off days next week. Say huh?

  4. Joey Estes is really something to be excited about, as is Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, and Indigo Diaz.

    I’ll continue to pound the idea that this system isn’t near as weak as some think & it’s about to get a lot better when they can finally dip their toes back in the international market.

  5. It really is amazing what the substitution of competent players for incompetent ones can do for you. I was just looking at the power-starved 2011 Braves outfield that managed 41 homers for the entire season. Pederson, Duvall and Soler have managed a quarter of that output in two weeks.

  6. @7 I said the same thing to David Lee in his post about Pache. It’s ridiculous that fans have already written off both Pache and Waters. People were spoiled by Ozzie and Ronnie.

  7. @7 Really excited for Pache. They have another 30+ games, so he could really play himself into a good situation. If he racks for another 20 games or so, hopefully Atlanta give him another cup of coffee.

  8. @9 Ozzie also got over 1000 PAs in AA and AAA across 2 1/2 seasons with no interruptions. Pache has gotten around 900, largely split up between Covid and major league action. Pache’s development wasn’t quite like Francoeur’s in terms of how rushed it was, but it was much more choppy than Albies’.

  9. Another thing I noticed in Fangraphs’ data is that Heredia is rated very low on defense in CF. It surprised me a little how bad the stat were. Not sure why he is being used a “defensive replacement”. Joc’s defense is more highly rated.

  10. @12 I saw that too, but that’s just not what these lying eyes tell me. Heredia has good range, avoided errors, and has a strong arm. I’m not sure what the beef is.

  11. I would posit that it’s not a problem with Heredia, it’s a problem with the Fangraphs defensive metrics. I would say a similar thing with Riley, who’s not spectacular, but is quite clearly not the defensive disaster that these metrics indicate. Simply put, defensive metrics still suck and should be mostly ignored.

    Early Chip Watch: Freeman lines a single to center with two out and nobody on in the first and he “broke up the no-hitter,” according to Chip. I mean…come on, man!

    UPDATE: LOL…and now he doubles down by complaining that Robles broke up Fried’s “perfect game bid” last night with a bunt single. That play occurred with nobody out in the fourth inning.

  12. @14

    Simply put, defensive metrics still suck and should be mostly ignored.

    Agreed, but it’s almost impossible to do so when they’re baked so deeply into WAR calculations. bWAR for Dansbo is 60% of his fWAR. Riley’s fWAR is 75% of what his bWAR is. Just all over the place.

  13. My eyes tell me that both Riley and Heredia are below average defenders at 3b and Cf, but neither are awful. And when Heredia comes in for defense, Soler comes out of the game.

  14. @16–yes, Soler is the weak link in the OF, so when you need a defensive replacement he is the one who comes out.

  15. Chip watch: infield comes in with a runner on third and one out and Smyly at the plate. Chip says it’s in case Smyly lays down a bunt. Clearly the middle infielders played in to cut off a runner at the plate, not in case of bunt.

    But honestly I think Chip knows better. It’s not easy to have to comment on everything as it happens. This is not the kind of mistake that gets me worked up. Not understanding the differences between Votto and Gwynn as hitters is what gets to me.

  16. @14 Chip always says that after the first hit of either team. The broadcast team is the one thing I envy the Mets.

  17. Due to the time difference, I can usually watch one game per week, the Sunday game usually. And even watching Chip once a week, he keeps saying exactly the same things. It’s painful.

  18. @22

    Indeed, it is.

    EDIT: Actually, it is not…my bad. He grounded out in the first. It’s 3-of-4.

  19. It’s not three consecutive, but it is 3 in 4 ABs. He’s pretty amazing right now. Earlier in his career (including this season), he would have swung at that breaking ball in the dirt on the preceding pitch. He laid off, and got a fastball in the zone. (As our announcers pointed out –credit where credit is due :))

  20. Unfortunately Snit’s answer to Smyly is probably Josh Tomlin

    Smyly isn’t fooling anyone

  21. We kinda need a long reliever that has mlb level stuff. The smoke and mirrors routine of Chavez is starting to run out much like Tomlin

    89/90 in the heart of the plate is a tough way to win

    Yeah Snit, not two innings out of Chavez

  22. Chavez is getting lit up .. yea put him in Tomlin category now … better get somebody ready .

  23. Is a starter who doesn’t make it past four innings in four of their last five games really a starter?

  24. @41 … no I think Duval will get the PT .. Rosario may platoon with him .. Soler and Duvall against lefties .. Peterson and Rosario against righties .. but I think they need to get Duval in as much as possible.. Rosario is struggling at AAA right now ..

  25. Snit bringing in Will Smith to close out a 6-5 game. He’ll face the top of the order. No thanks. Tuning out. I’ve seen this show before.

  26. @48 it’s almost like Snit doesn’t pay any attention to what’s been going on. Soto hitting third this inning is going to hurt us, but by how much will be determined by whether or not Smith walks or hits one of the first two hitters

  27. Will Smith, top of the order, one-run game, Soto up third, what could go wrong?

  28. @53 You want Jackson closing? Or Matzek, who has sucked until about 2 weeks ago? Rodriguez, maybe, but I would think they would want more time with him.

  29. Pitching outside with the shift on to a guy that slapped one to right field earlier. No worries

  30. In all seriousness, GREAT play by Riley. That took the game from a loss to a win. Wow.

  31. By the way, I was at the game last night, and this lineup is sure fun to watch.

    Win ugly, win pretty, just win, baby!

    I owe Austin at least TWO Cokes.

  32. We could be a game up on the Phillies in about 30 minutes and 3 games up on the Muts by tonight.

    Not feeling too jazzy about the rotation, gents and gals. Proven Winner Drew Smyly, as Chip would be apt to point out, isn’t even pitching long enough to get actual wins. The shine on Touki and Tall Tex have worn off. Who knows what we have when Ynoa and Anderson come back. It’s Fried, Morton, and pray for a warshin’.

  33. Snit: I don’t pay attention to defensive metrics. … I pay attention to what I see on the field. I don’t buy all that metric stuff on defense.


  34. Not a bad job by the pen post Chavez (who got the win…) – Just 1H and 5K well and 4 BB.
    Smith in typical Hancock mode today. I’m ready to try a new closer. Why not call up Indigo Diaz? Free Indigo.

  35. The radio announcers talked about how the Nationals had a President Taft in their between-innings presidents race for a while along with the usual four. It would be fun (for me if not the Secret Service) if a real president would say, “I’m a President. I want to be in that race.” and be the fifth competitor without telling fans in advance. Obama is probably the only recent one who was in that kind of shape, but I assume that at some point we’ll get another in his/her 50s.

  36. Publicly available defensive metrics can be legitimately critiqued. (I’m certain the teams have their own and far more accurate metrics.) Sansho1 has covered that territory far better than I ever could.

    Riley’s defense is fine. He’s probably as good a defensive third baseman as Chipper.

  37. 64 — Yeah, hopefully Anderson can get back to where he was before the ASB. That would be a solid 1-2-3.

    68 — I think that’s a fair comparison, though I think Chipper had better lateral movement and a more accurate arm.

  38. First place… just us.

    As Mr. Blonde once said: “Alone at last.”

    Even if it’s only for one day, it feels pretty good.

  39. Former Brave of the day. Lucas Sims pitched 1.1 innings with 2 strikeouts and no baserunners to get the win for the Reds against the Phillies and give the Braves first alone

  40. I think Riley still is brutal coming in on the ball (and Statcast backs that up) but he’s adjusted very well this year.

    If you’re looking at anything other than Statcast, I think you’re losing the tech game. They’re by far the most advanced out there.

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