Braves 6, Nationals 5

Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman, and Austin Riley slugged homers early, and the bullpen managed to hang on for the 5 innings handed to them by Drew Smyly as the Braves complete the series sweep. Coupled with a Phillies loss, the Braves now have sole possession of 1st place in the N.L. East.

Swanson’s 2 run shot to dead centerfield in the top of the 3rd gave the Braves a 3 – 0 lead, and was his 4th homer of the series. However, the Nationals clawed back in the bottom of the inning to tie the game on 4 singles, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

Freeman and Riley went back to back in the 5th to make the lead 5 – 3. Dansby then started a new rally with an infield single, and eventually came around to score the final Braves run on a wild pitch. Riley had 3 hits, and Swanson, Freeman, and Joc Pederson each had 2.

Smyly gave up 6 hits and a walk in his 4 innings. Jesse Chavez gave up the final 2 runs in the 5th, on 3 hits and a walk. Chavez has now thrown 18 1/3 innings for the Braves this season; the last 4 have been a lot like his career’s first 950.

Richard Rodriguez, Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson and Will Smith finished up. None of them managed a clean inning, but they were effective enough. Final line for the bullpen: 5 IP, 4 hits, 5 walks, and 5 strikeouts.

The Braves have now won 10 out of 12 heading to Miami on Monday at 7:10. Touki Toussaint and Braxton Garrett scheduled.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

48 thoughts on “Braves 6, Nationals 5”

  1. Boy, it sure is good to see the Nationals Soto-shuffle themselves back into last place in the division!

  2. Thanks Rusty. Efficiently done.

    Question: in the alternative universe where Harper stayed with the Nats, would they have jettisoned him this year?

  3. Braves in solo first for the first time all season! Feels like the baseball gods have finally been shining down on the Braves over the last couple weeks. In response to @3, Fangraphs currently sees the Braves’ playoff odds at 45%, up from 28% on August 12. When the top 3 teams in a division are tightly packed and it appears that only one can make the playoffs, a few good (or bad) days can swing the odds considerably!

    The Braves are lucky the 2021 NL East has turned into what the NL Central has been in a number of recent seasons – a race to 86 Ws. No other division is projected to have a 1st place team finish with fewer than 93 Ws…. in fact, the top 4 teams in the AL East are projected for 89 – 94 Ws. The divisional system is definitely playing in our favor this season.

    On a personal note, after pledging (back in early June I think?) not to watch the Braves until they had an over-.500 record, I saw my first live action today in seemingly forever – 8th and 9th innings. Will Smith looked about as shaky as I was expecting, but sometimes (as today) the breaks go your way.

  4. JC’d

    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.

  5. I am liking this view from the summit. Long may it last. The Mets could be about to implode, so like others here I see it as a race between us and the Phils.

    @4 I too tried not to get emotionally invested in this version of the team until they went above .500. I just couldn’t do it, as they were never out of the division despite their sucky play. But this team is so much more fun now.

  6. This is Bill Edwards . The Braves Bull Pen has been improving. However, Brian Snitiker keeps Selecting to have Will Smith to pitch Relief. I have noticed that Will Smith has been Struggling. His Balls to strikes ratio is too high He starts off by throwing balls to each player in the line up. He needs Addition Training. He Is not a lights out Relief pitcher. He should be pitching at a 2.5 Era instead he is 3.72 perhaps a Rest is needed. The Braves schedule is going to be tougher. When they face Tue National League Western Division. All the the teams have an average of 10 more wins than The Braves. Will Smith has work to do . To improve before the Play offs. Especially if they are able to. Reach the NLCS .His Performance showed a Decline in the NLCs when facing the Los angles Dodgers. The team after the the End of July shows a vast Improvement. How ever the team had struggled in the wins column. Granted injuries occurred. But the players who stepped up were falling way short of The Intended Goal. They need a Closer that can consistently be successful. In comparison of Their Team.during the 1990’s
    Bill Edwards Sports Editor of The Palm Coast Tribune in Lauderdale Lakes and Boyton Beach FLORIDA ⛱.

  7. Mets are losing 6 to 0 in the 3rd so implosion seems to be coming. I have been a critic of Snitker all year but even before they made the deadline deals and started the winning streaks, you could see the team attitude changing. I have to give Snit some credit for pushing them so they were in a position to make key trades. They could have easily folded after the Acuna injury.

  8. @7 Yep, definitely needs Addition Training. He’s solid on Subtraction and Fractions, but not Addition.

  9. So our starters should now be Morton, Fried, Anderson and two of Smyly, Ynoa, Touki, Muller. If Muller stays in AAA then Smyly has to stay in the rotation and Ynoa and Touki should rotate through the 5th spot with the other being the long reliever instead of Tomlin. Smyly is positioning himself as a long reliever and if others step up then he’ll have to be pushed back. Right now, if the top three can go 6 innings on a regular basis then you can have the Smyly/Touki or Smyly/Ynoa tag teams.

    Our rotation has been dependent all year on the “next man up” with so many injuries. And that has worked well. I’m not ready to give up on Touki or Muller and I hope Ynoa (and Anderson) can return strong. As afar as improving by replacing the low man on the totem pole, Tomlin has to be the next one out.

  10. So we have three players coming soon…… Anderson, Ynoa, Rosario. Who can go out?

    Ynoa for Webb…
    Anderson for Tomlin…
    Rosario for ??? My guess is still Heredia (1 option). Or Santana (2 options). As long as Chavez is the middle inning stopper, he’s essentially taking the same role as Santana. Almonte has no options and has too good an ability to get on base as a PH and is a switch hitter. Adrianza is the only IF backup and Vogt is the backup catcher.

    They might go Anderson for Santana and then Rosario for Tomlin…..

  11. @13 … Dont see how they can get rid of Heredia .. him playing CF .. Rosario and him can do some platooning .. Joc and Soler platoon .. And Duvall .. so I think Almonte goes .. unless Heredia has options left .

  12. Who thinks we should keep Joc and Duval next year to platoon .. will have Acuna back .. if Pache still not ready for CF then go get a CF … 1st gotta get Freddie signed .. do we bring back D’arnaud ?? I hope so .. let Contreras and Langerhauns battle out for 2nd catcher ..

  13. If Langerhans is the auto-correct for Langeliers, what does that say about Langeliers’ career?

  14. Don’t blame Shea for having a more obscure last name – not every prospect can be named after pancreatic tissue!

  15. Langerhans had one minor flaw in his game and it seemed major league teams were often able to exploit it. That minor flaw was he couldn’t hit major league pitching. Despite that minor issue he was able to stick around 11 years as a corner outfielder, batting almost 1500 times, with 33 career homeruns, a 226 batting average, and an 86 OPS+. I’m sure he did something more than Ty Cobb.

    On a serious note, (sorry for digressing) I would love it if we brought D’Arnaud back next year as a mentor and backup to Contreras and likely Langeliers when he’s ready. However, he may be looking to get one more contract as a starter a little bigger than we’re willing to give. My guess is we’d look for him to play about 60 to 80 games.

  16. @16 @17 @18 ..I was lazy ..didnt want to look up I went the only Lange …… I could think of …

  17. @43 – That’s okay. It brought back some memories – although I wouldn’t say they were good. In 2007 the guy came to the plate 52 times and managed 1 double and two singles before we cut bait and shipped him to Oakland. I remember that streak and I’m sure there was plenty of bad luck involved, but it seems like he hit a ton of pop ups and extremely weak grounders that would have been out anywhere he hit them.

  18. Ty Cobb:
    HR% 0.9%
    BB%: 9.6%
    Pinch Hits: 11
    Grand Slams: 1 in 90 Opportunities

    Ryan Langerhans
    HR%: 2.2%
    BB%: 13%
    Pinch Hits: 22
    Grand Slams: 1 in 40 opportunities

  19. Smitty, if you’re out there, if I move to Germantown, would I have to buy and wear an orange shirt? That would be a deal breaker.

  20. @25 – With all this favorable comparisons to Ty Cobb, it is incredible that Langerhans got no respect or consideration when it came to the Hall of Fame! Poor guy.

  21. @25, 28–at a minimum the Braves must have considered retiring his number. I mean, how many Braves players have been bettter than Cobb in so many categories? (JonathanF—don’t answer that question—it was rhetorical only. I assume if you listed all the Braves who have done so it would take all the space we have on the inter webs.)

  22. By the way, Langerhans wore number 18 with the Braves from 2002-2005. It’s got to the most undistinguished number in team history, even though it’s been worn by more players than any other number. The only player who ever wore it who would be considered “good” was Klesko, who wore it from 1992-1999. Others include Garrett Anderson, Frenchy in 2016, and Kung Fu Panda in 2020. As bad as Langerhans was, his WAR of 0.1 as a Brave was probably more value than most of the other players who have worn it.
    Maybe they should retire the number so that no one else has to be associated with it.

  23. @26 – Reason number 1,737 why I couldn’t go to law school ( I think it’s 1,737, it depends on if my Addition Training has paid off.)

  24. So can Atlanta activate Acuna for this series, just for the free baserunner to start every game?

  25. I really need a diet now from all the crow that I have eaten.

    Really proud of this team.

    Snitker, IMO deserves a lot of credit. He must be one of those guys that the intangibles outweigh the on the field managerial decisions to a degree that is probably never quantifiable.

  26. @36 Big of ya Chief.

    @38 The rotation would be Morton, Fried, Anderson, Touki, and who?

  27. I’m still holding out hope that Aaron Blair will be the next Greg Maddux. He has a 1.80 ERA for the West Virginia Powers this year! Of course it is over 5 innings.

  28. @45 Same with Wisler.

    It’s funny, I was listening to a college football podcast, and the guy was talking about being a Rays fan and how they manipulate market inefficiencies and all that. And his example was that they’ll grab guys and just have them throw sliders 100% of the time. I thought, “Sir, you are talking about ole Cy Wisler.”

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