Braves 9, Giants 0

The Braves take the battle of division leaders 2 games to 1, and in emphatic fashion. Jorge Soler and Austin Riley homered in the bottom of the 4th to give the Braves a 3 – 0 lead, and Eddie Rosario tripled in 2 more in the 6th to break the game open. The Braves added 2 more in the 7th, and an Ozzie Albies solo homer capped off a 2 run 8th. Soler, Rosario, and Joc Pederson, to pick some names at random, combined to go 5 for 10 with 3 runs scored and 4 RBIs.

Ian Anderson eased back into the starting rotation for the first time since the day before the All-Star break by tossing 5 2/3 innings. He held the Giants scoreless despite not striking out a batter, scattering 4 hits and 2 walks. In fact, the Braves completed the shutout striking out only 3 Giant hitters.

Tyler Matzek came on to get the final out in the 6th with a runner on 2nd, and his walk to Brandon Crawford brought the tying run to the plate. However, a Wilmer Flores strikeout ended what turned out to be the Giants final threat. Richard Rodriguez, A.J. Minter, and Touki Toussaint finished up.

Ryan has his Ender, and JonathanF has his Chip, and I have my 14 pitchers on the roster. Apparently the Braves are NOT in the habit of listening to internet randos, and it will be moot when the rosters expand on September 1st anyway, but, come on.

Josh Tomlin has pitched in one game since August 13th, and appeared in 3 games total in the month of August. I’m not saying the Braves don’t need a long reliever / mop-up man / emergency starter. I’m not even saying the Braves don’t need Josh Tomlin. I’m just saying the Braves probably could have covered those 5 1/3 innings this month with 13 pitchers. Meanwhile the Braves have had to use pitchers as pinch hitters 5 times this season already. (They’re hitting .500, but forget it, I’m rolling.)

I will preach on.

The Braves now stand at 70 – 59 and their lead over the Phillies remains 4.5 games. On to Los Angeles Monday at 10:10 EDT to play the 2nd best team in the West; Drew Smyly and Julio Urias 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.

96 thoughts on “Braves 9, Giants 0”

  1. JC’d from JonathanF.

    “I’ve done a little more looking. My candidate for best string against righthanded hitters is JR Richard in 1980, who gave up 3 hits in 113 AB. The best lefty performance is Andrew Miller, who gave up 5 hits in 121 AB to consecutive righthanded hitters in 2015.”

  2. Note to “thumbs-down” Mets: When you’re losing in NYC, you’re going to get booed — that’s life in the big city. Win some games & you’ll get cheered. It’s pretty simple. What you should never do is take it out on the fans who pay money to see you.

    Note to Javy Baez: Guess which free agent won’t be getting signed by the Mets this winter?

  3. @2 So do the Mets pick the wrong hitters to acquire (Lindor hasn’t been great either) or does signing with the Mets ruin a hitter?

    Seems like picking up a good player having had a bad year with the Mets might be quite a bargain. LOL

  4. We’re up by 4.5 games now. My primary desire is to be up 6 games before the final series with the Mets and Phillies so none of those games matter.

  5. @6 I thought the 90 win stuff was a funny bit for awhile, but I want it now. 90 wins is a legit playoff team in a weak division.

  6. This is too good. Hope you got your popcorn.

  7. I hate to say I told you so, but I’ve been saying the Mets are not the team to beat since May. I felt like our major competition would be the Phillies or even the Nationals for a long time. This year’s version of the Mets has been way too Mets like to win the division. This may turn out to be one of the most Mets like Mets teams in a long time.

  8. @9: Not until they hire Mo Vaughn and Bobby Bonilla to coach (or maybe play) first and third base.

    @5: Justin Turner and Wilmer Flores come to mind, but for every one of those there’s probably two Jason Bays or Roberto Alomars who are done once they come to the Mets and play badly.

    But the Braves had Melky Cabrera, who was good both before and after his stint in Atlanta, so we’ve had a few Mets-like adventures ourselves.

  9. The Braves have used 7 catchers this season, which looks like it’s probably a team record. (I checked every year since 2010 and every year ending in 0 since 1900, and only a couple of years were even close.) Jonathan, any idea if it’s a MLB record? I doubt they’ll use an 8th this year unless there are two more injuries/absences, as Contreras is a better option than another random pickup.

    Just speculating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the teams using the most catchers in a season tend to be a bit better than average. A bad team would probably just go with a decent pitch-caller or two and live with the bad bats, while a really good team probably wouldn’t feel the urgency to make constant changes if it was running away with its division.

  10. @12 I did some quick research for the most catchers used in an MLB season.

    All time record:
    13, 1884 Philadelphia Quakers

    Modern record:
    9, 1911 Philadelphia Phillies & 1914 Pittsburgh Pirates

    Many teams have used 8 catchers, the most recent being the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates

    The Braves franchise record is 7, in 1929
    The Atlanta record was 6, in 1973, 1989, and 1990

  11. Not sure if I’m in the minority or not, but I’m on Baez’s side here. The owners have consistently made the fans think the players are overpaid babies so they can raise ticket prices, pocket the extra cash, and never pass those savings to the fans in the form of lower ticket prices, merch, or concessions. They know they have to have fans at the games to continue this cycle, so the owners side with them if a player happens to be a human and responds to fan reactions. Watching the documentary Malice at the Palace, albeit about an NBA incident, made me see how commissioners and owners in professional sports will always cater to the fans regardless of their behavior toward the players.

    Simply put, professional athletes have a code of conduct, so why don’t the fans?

  12. Want to echo everyone else that if you couldn’t use Tomlin in a 7-run game, then he’s useless.

    What do you reckon the plan is for Touki? He comes in to pitch one inning in relief. Interesting.

  13. The Mets have had a pretty amazing track record. Other than Beltran and, say, Robin Ventura, I’m struggling to think of guys who were as good or better in Queens as he was in other cities. Olerud? Zeile, I guess? (Other than guys like Reyes and Edgardo Alfonzo, who basically turned into a pumpkin after playing their entire primes with the club that drafted them.)

    Baerga’s another guy whose career ended just about as soon as his plane touched down. Just like Turner, Jeff Kent’s career really only started after he left. Same with Daniel Murphy.

    In my baseball-watching career, the Mets have frequently had pretty good pitching, but their offense is always worse than advertised. For much of that time, I am sure that the Wilpons’ terrible attitude towards injuries and conditioning (accusing anyone hurt of malingering) badly exacerbated the problem, as did their horrible approach towards PR-driven acquisitions of past-their-prime players like Vaughn and Bonilla.

    But it’s hard to escape feeling like there’s some serious bad juju in Flushing.

  14. @13, thanks. My speculation was way off, as 7 of the 8 teams you named had losing records and the 1911 Phillies were a 79-73 fourth-place team 19.5 games out.

    How did you find the information so quickly? I did my limited check by going to each team’s BRef season page, finding the games played by position table, and sorting for games played at catcher. This process just took a few minutes to check 22 Braves teams, but it wouldn’t be practical for looking at all MLB teams ever.

  15. Booing a free-falling baseball team is hardly similar to what happened in Detroit. And picking fights with a public you need for support is a death wish — it just never works.

    Also, when healthy (esp. with deGrom in the fold), the Mets can be formidable, if not exactly scary. That said, I always enjoy the drama in Flushing (& The Bronx).

  16. @17 That list goes back 25 years. We have a ton of guys who came to Atlanta and turned into pumpkins, and I think that’s just part of acquiring guys past their prime. Reggie Sanders, Quilvio Veras, BUpton, Uggla, Chris Johnson, Rico Brogna, Vinny Castilla, Mark DeRosa had many guys years after he left us. We have a big list too.

  17. Want to echo everyone else that if you couldn’t use Tomlin in a 7-run game, then he’s useless.

    What do you reckon the plan is for Touki? He comes in to pitch one inning in relief. Interesting.

    These two thoughts are connected. The plan for Touki, such as it is, supersedes using Tomlin, such as he is.

  18. If he is not allowed to start anymore, I’d rather have Touki replace Hancock.

    Yesterday was one of the most fun Braves games I was able to watch this season. Other than the slow pace of Anderson, his tempo keeps reminding me of Hanson, the Braves looked great in every aspect.

  19. Urias with a 0.90 ERA in four August starts (20 IP – 21K – 7BB). But nothing can go wrong for the Braves with Smyly on the mound who hasn’t lost since May.

  20. We have 6 starters and one of them is famous for only going effectively through the order 1 time. Now, if only we could find a long reliever..

  21. @18 I have a local copy of the Lahman DB in MySQL, so that question was pretty easy to answer with a SQL query on the Fielding table.

  22. Schedule fro here on out:
    3 vs. LAD
    7 vs. Rox
    3 vs. Nats
    3 vs. MIA
    3 vs. SF
    4 vs. ARI
    2.5 vs. SD
    3 vs. PHI
    3 vs. NYM

  23. Definitely with ububba @19. Assuming it was just booing and there was nothing uglier going on, give me a break. If Baez really wants a fun time, he should try going to Philadelphia next year and having an 0-for-20 week.

    More generally on Baez, he’s no longer in Chicago and the bloom is very much off the rose. No longer will he somehow receive credit for playing like garbage yet having the other team make one of the most-boneheaded plays of all-time during his plate appearance. The El Mago silliness is over.

  24. @20 Some of those guys had big years (or a big year) with the Braves before they went belly up. With the Mets it seems to be instantaneous.

  25. To put a point on our previous discussion, I was just perusing B-Ref WAR data. There are 21 players who have contributed negative WAr to the Braves this year and only two are still on the Major League roster:

    Stephen Vogt (but then again the highest contributing catcher has been Lucroy at +0.1; TdA currently at 0.0)
    Josh Tomlin

    I also got a whole new level of respect for AA. What I found was that we traded away a total of -0.5 2021 WAR and three minor prospects for all of our deadline acquisitions. That is some Houdini act. Our new guys have yielded a total of +2.8 WAR so far.

  26. Curious to know how many of us will still be compos mentis and, more importantly, be awake tonight when the last out goes down, whosever that may be. If that’s you post here before you hit the sack. Advance posts stating you know you will be, righteously ignored. If we lose and you’re still there to post at the end – HOF.

  27. @25 I’m not sure what’s going on. They skipped Smyly’s start, but then they had Touki work an inning in relief. If they sent Smyly and Touki to the pen, that leaves them with four starters — Fried, Anderson, Morton, and Ynoa. I guess skipping Smyly’s start didn’t mean much.

  28. get in the mood…. focus!

    Lieutenant Dans
    the raucous noise of pots and pans
    that greeted your recent heroics
    absent now, pro tempore, yet so much treasured by your stoics.

    Urias’ curve
    has been famously known to swerve
    but both it and his cutter
    with no angel dust, have developed a stygian stutter.

    It’s Turner Time
    they themselves predict it will be truly sublime
    we know better, for whom we might say,
    we’ve noted that either, or both, can throw it away.

  29. @33: I promise nothing, but I did watch the Dodgers-Padres last week until it hit the 14th inning at 3 am. Then I wondered why I was watching a game between two teams I didn’t care about until 3 am in which the main actions were intentional walks.

  30. @33, not me. This one game isn’t that important, and I don’t do well when I don’t get enough sleep. I expect to watch the first 3-5 innings.

  31. @33 I’m a night owl. I’ll be up. Plus it’s Smyly on the hill which means the Braves will win!

  32. I’m a retired night owl so I will be watching.

    It would somewhat make sense to use Smyly and Touki as a piggyback tandem. I also wouldn’t mind Touki replacing Smith as closer.

  33. Wow…fearless move from Cindy, Touki to close. And who put Duval in CF?? Pace, or rather the lack of it.

    For me, Dansby one key tonight. Mustn’t let him slide any further, so much to lose, he’ll be back very soon I reckon.

  34. @40 Smyly/Touki piggyback is a great idea. Almost a guaranteed bullpen saver day.

    Also – I think you’d like to see ANYONE replace Smith as closer. (if it must be done, I vote for Rodriguez)

  35. Smyly pitching to the Dodgers’ lineup tonight and at Coors later this trip just seems like a fabulous idea.

  36. Well, we might get to see Tomlins value tonight as he eats a couple innings starting in the third as Smyly gets torched

  37. So disappointing he combines a plurality of excellent off speed stuff with two horrendous RDBM fast balls…ugh.

  38. @43 Rodríguez closing would be even worse than Smith. You want your high strikeout / low FIP guys closing. Matzek and Jackson should be sharing closing duties. Matzek walks too many but that’s better than homers. There isn’t a great reliever on this roster but right now Luke and Tyler are the best we have. FWIW, RR has only struck out a little over 3 per 9 innings over the last month. Since the ban on sticky stuff he hasn’t been good.

    Smyly is pitching batting practice to these guys. He won’t make it his usual 4 innings. He needs to replace Tomlin as the mop up reliever.

  39. So uh, is Smyly our mop-up guy today?

    Sorry, Cindy, you made that joke already!

  40. Looks like it will be Tomlin time. We rarely win the first game of a West Coast road trip, so might as well throw in the towel now.

  41. Well, I say let Los Angeles have its football and baseball. Atlanta will always be first in gentlemanly club life!

  42. Not on your life. We came in with every expectation of forcing a close game. Within less than a handful of innings it’s over…Urias vs Smyley, chalk and cheese. It’s a disgrace. Not a loss, an out and out embarrassment. Who do we hold accountable?

  43. Those first two four-seamers to Trea Turner were the first ones that the Dodgers hadn’t made contact with all night, I believe.

  44. I think Smyly should take this one for the team tonight. No worries if his arm falls off, because pitching him in Colorado in his next turn would be idiocy, anyhow.

  45. Well, I do believe Drew Smyly may be pitching his way right out of the playoff roster.

    Also, this umpire’s strike zone is the size of Montana.

  46. I’m pretty sure Smyly’s being left off the roster in October no matter what. Ditto Tomlin. Their roles don’t exist on a playoff roster.

  47. So we apparently have Touki in the bullpen and Muller in AAA but we’ve gotta watch this nonsense. If the kids were struggling we could at least say they were learning or getting valuable experience.

  48. When I patent the “Chip Caray Drinking Game,” among the words which the Surgeon General will not allow me to include is “ex-Cub.”

  49. @64

    We’re now in a playoff race. I’ll buy an argument that I’d rather have Touki pitch this game than Smyly, but getting Touki experience is not among the reasons. I couldn’t give less of a crap. He’s gonna be in the bullpen in the playoffs anyway, so I’d say he’s exactly where he should be if the plan is to get him experience.

  50. Jon…

    this wasn’t ever going to be one of those great games where one team catches up on the other likely. After 3 innings the divide was seismic. We knew enough about Urias from last October to see he was deja vu and Smiley’s fastball was not a weapon but a liability – Snit of course will milk him till he can’t. Call Vegas and see what the numbers were after 3. Such a waste, we didn’t even get to give them a game, even see a game.

    anyway, c’mon, score a run or two to cheer us up.

  51. @67 Sometimes you get beat. But if I’m not mistaken this team “embarrassed” the best team in the majors yesterday. Ask Gabe Kapler if his “disgraced” team held someone accountable after the game.

    In the meantime, five runs isn’t insurmountable and I’m not going to spend my Monday being upset about a game that’s still within reach. Even if the odds aren’t great.

  52. If it makes you feel any better, this was always the game with the longest odds of the three…since, like, Smyly was pitching against Urias.

    And look at that! We’re now the proud owners of our very own shiny run!

  53. Gotta factor in the Smyly mojo though. Braves are gonna score like eight runs over the last three innings cuz Smyly doesn’t get L’s.

    Edit: Two shiny runs! Six to go!

  54. Thank you!

    Feeling better, best part we got them off Urias before he could come out and claim his virgo intacta god like status.

  55. If they don’t figure this play out, I’m going to be unhappy. But surely it’s exactly as Frenchy says; 1-2 with Ozzie at first.

    Okay, good.

    EDIT: wait what

    why is Soler out

  56. Boy, this has been a real “trust us, we’re professionals” inning out of the boys in blue.

    Bring on the damn robots, already. These clowns have no idea what they’re doing.

  57. It’s certainly not the most common call you’ll ever see, but it’s not the near-impossibility Chip seems to think it is. If you step in front of the catcher when he’s trying to throw, and Soler did, you’re potentially subject to it. And unless it’s on strike three, the batter gets called out instead of the base runner.

  58. @80, 81, fair enough. I have not run into it memorably before. I certainly was not finding it so strange based on Chip’s assessment.

    Another interesting fact about this game so far: eight runs total have scored, on seven home runs.

    Wow; Dansby got actually sawed off there.

  59. Strike three on Duvall was legit, way better than it probably needed to be given the way the zone had been called all night, but I do want to say Vogt at bat in that spot with the game on the line is evidence that the current roster construction has some serious drawbacks.

  60. Well, we didn’t get over the top but it was closer than it seemed. If Duvall gets the walk then Vogt’s fly ball is a sac fly for the 4th run with Ozzie coming up.

    To be honest, I fell asleep during the first three innings and woke up to the impending disaster but stuck it out til the end.

    I also looked at the Fangraphs WAR ratings and they are much more positive for Tomlin. Oddly, Tomlin’s FIP/xFIP is almost on par with Rodriguez as far as his Braves performance goes – the difference being BABIP (Tomlin at about .350 or so and Rodriguez in the .180s). And FG was much more negative about Almonte and positive about Heredia. Makes the most recent moves seem more straight up performance logical if that’s the data they’re using. And, for what it’s worth, they peg Minter and Matzek as being nearly identical as our best relievers. Their difference is also BABIP related.

  61. I think this was a legit good game. We had a bad starting pitching performance, then our bullpen kept us in it while our hitters cut the lead bit by bit, then a couple controversial plays and the game ends with the winning run at the plate.

  62. @89 Another tidbit from FG. In the last few years, the Braves have had some of the worst hitting pitchers in the league (regularly ranked 28-30), but this year the Braves are #1. Obviously led by Fried and Ynoa.

    Oh, and the Braves are solidly #30 in catcher performance……

  63. Let’s just not get swept here & we should be fine.

    I kinda thought we were gonna come all the way back after getting the 2 runners on in the 9th. Funny how quickly your confidence can return.

  64. @92 Unless Snit decides he needs a “grinder” or further veteran presence after Morton. I don’t always have a ton of faith in Snit making the logical choice when it comes to the pitching staff but he has been better lately.

  65. I think that Drew Smyly won’t be starting any playoff games for us.

    Because Smyly won’t be on the roster or because we’re going to miss the playoffs?

  66. For the similarly morbid out there: yesterday wasn’t a total loss, as Cincinnati–our main competition, should we fall into the race for the second wild card spot–was also defeated.

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