Dodgers 4, Braves 3

Guy Clark was the perhaps the greatest American songwriter most people have never heard of.  One of his signature songs is “LA Freeway.”  Check this out, and then come back: Guy Clark, “L.A. Freeway,” Austin City Limits – YouTube

OK. Everyone back now? The Braves escaped the LA Freeway, but not before being swept in three games.  That’s nothing new for our guys; they  have now lost the last nine games they’ve played in the stadium in Chavez Ravine.

But you know what? Despite the sweep, they got off the LA Freeway without getting killed or caught.  They are still very much alive, and despite losing 6 of the last 8, they have not been caught by the Phillies. The lead in the NL East is 2 games, with 4 and a half weeks left to play.  It’s going to be an intense and exciting pennant race, in all likelihood going down to the wire.

It’s disappointing to get swept, but there’s no need for alarm. All three games went down to the last pitch; in all three, the Braves had the tying or winning run at the plate in the ninth inning. And just look at the Dodgers starters they had to face: Max Scherzer last night looked every bit the HOFer he will doubtless be; Walker Buehler on Tuesday is probably the front runner for this year’s Cy Young; and almost as an afterthought, Monday’s pitcher, Jose Urias, is now 15-3 with a 3.17 ERA.

No need for alarm, but we are allowed some frustration at the Braves bullpen.  For the second night in a row, the Braves led in the late innings, only to have the bullpen surrender two runs for a one run loss.  On Wednesday, Scherzer shut out the Braves through six, and he was dominant—9 K’s, no walks and only three singles.  Our own Max, Varsity Fried, was almost as good in six frames.  He also struck out nine and surrendered only three hits.  Only problem was, two of those hits were sole home runs by Muncy (he’s become the best hitter in the deepest lineup in the league) and Austin Barnes (just who is he?).

Fortunately for the Braves, Dave Roberts lifted Scherzer after only 76 pitches, and in the 7th, d’Arnaud singled, followed by a two run shot by Eddie Rosario.  (Let’s all stop for a moment and genuflect once again in the direction of Alex Anthopoulos.) After Rodriguez and Matzek held the Bums scoreless in the bottom of the 7th, Dansby hit a blast to deep center that gave the Braves a 3-2 run lead. (BTW, I still cannot wrap my head around the way the ball now flies out of Dodger Stadium.  I still think of it as the cavernous place of the 1960’s and 1970’s where fly balls went to die.)

At that point, I was already worrying about the expected appearance of Will Smith in the ninth with a run one lead.  If you want to follow Eric Idle’s advice and look on the bright side, we were spared that drama, as the Dodgers scored two in the 8th to retake the lead.  The Braves went quietly in the 9th to complete the sweep, obviating the opportunity for more Hancock trauma.

But Chris Martin has become at least as big an issue as Smith.  Matzek came back out in the 8th (good job, Snit!), but gave up a leadoff double to Trea Turner on a fastball that was up around his eyes.  Still, he got Muncy to groundout and then struck out Betts.  For some reason, Snit decided to replace Matzek with Martin to face Justin Turner. Single, walk, single, and all of a sudden the Braves are down 4-3.  Both singles were ground balls in the hole, but it appeared on both that Martin got too much of the plate.  Martin is not a strikeout pitcher; he depends on command and control.  These Dodgers simply do not chase out of the zone, even with two strikes.  Also, I’m normally not one to blame the umpire, but the ball and strike calls in the last couple of innings were as bad as anything I remember.  Martin threw a couple clearly in the zone that were called balls.  Then the same ump turned around in the top of the ninth and called a strike that was a good six inches below the knees.

The Braves now head to Denver for four.  I know the Rockies have a good home record, but they are still the Rockies. None of the pitchers they face will be anything like these last three.  In fact, let’s rough them up so much that we’re not relying on Cold Play and Hancock late in close games.

One other piece of good news: Drew Smyly will not start one of the games in Denver.  Touki gets the start tonight.

*   *   *

So, after these last three games, I fully share in Guy Clark’s sentiments:

Pack up all your dishes
Make note of all good wishes
And say goodbye to the landlord for me
That son of bitch has always bored me

Throw out the L.A. papers
And that mouldy box of Vanilla Wafers
Adios, to all this concrete
Gonna get me some dirt road back streets

If I can just get off of this L.A. freeway
Without gettin’ killed or caught
Down that road in a cloud of smoke
To some land I ain’t bought, bought, bought

Put the pink card in the mailbox
Leave the key in that ol’ front door lock
They’ll find it likely as not
I’m sure there’s somethin’ we have forgot

Oh, Susanna, don’t you cry, baby
Love’s a gift that’s surely handmade
We got somethin’ to believe in
Don’t you think, it’s time we’re leavin’?

If I can just get off of this L.A. freeway
Without gettin’ killed or caught
Down that road in a cloud of smoke
To some land I ain’t bought, bought, bought

If I can just get off of this L.A. freeway
Without gettin’ killed or caught

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.

36 thoughts on “Dodgers 4, Braves 3”

  1. Bravo, tfloyd. Great recap and thanks for putting things in perspective. But now, we gotta take care of the Rockies and get out of Colorado at least 3-1. Go Touki!

  2. As the Talking Heads once observed, probably thinking about relievers:

    I’m mad and that’s a fact
    I found out animals don’t help
    Animals think they’re pretty smart
    S—t on the ground, see in the dark

    They wander around like a crazy dog
    Make a mistake in the parking lot
    Always bumping into things
    Always let you down, down, down, down

  3. Cry Havoc and let slip the Dogs of WAR
    that this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    like carrion flesh
    groaning for burial.

  4. would Melancon
    all pressure on
    have turned the trick
    and left THEM sick?

    What would it have cost to find out? Unsure

  5. Chris Martin sucks.

    I think we’re somewhere between the Giants and Dodgers right now. Giants have lost 3 straight at home to Milwaukee.

  6. The umpire in us all
    who’s never thrown a ball
    anger soon displayed
    neutrality? charade.

    tfloyd

    once since, I was paranoid
    your soothing, calmer waters
    obviate the need
    disband the Pen, lock up the daughters.

  7. Between that funky 2 day break last week and playing on the west coast this week, I’ve been Braves-less for too many nights. It sucks to get beat by a red hot team at home, but the coming stretch is favorable: @COL, vs. WSH, vs. MIA. That’s not a bad stretch to get some distance in the East race.

  8. Hating on a manager for in-game management snafus is usually misplaced — the vast majority of the job is outside the lines — but Brian Snitker’s annoying tic of defending his pitching changes with extreme-small-sample-size matchup data is really grating to me. You better talk me off the ledge, Fun Police.

    “I liked the matchup with Justin Turner,” Snitker said of the decision to replace Matzek. “He had never got a hit off Martin, and he was 3-for-8 or something like that off Matzek.” (Actually, 2-for-5, both of the hits in 2014.)

    https://theathletic.com/2804321/2021/09/02/braves-austin-riley-credits-behind-the-scenes-hitting-guru-for-his-breakthrough/

    JonathanF, can you please offer your services to the team so that Snit will understand that there’s no statistically significant difference between Turner’s stats against Martin (previously 0 for 6, now 1 for 7) and his stats against Matzek (2 for 5)?

  9. @9 That’s a nice thing for him to say in a post-game, but you’d have to think he also thought he was playing the righty-righty match-up with Turner and Pollock up. Of course, I would also hope that’s not the case since Matzek murders lefties.

    At the end of the day, Martin is our second-highest paid reliever, and he needs to get outs. He ain’t. I want Muller in the rotation, Smyly in the pen, and I want the best 13 pitchers on the big league roster when we’re playing the best teams in baseball. Stop playing games with options and other BS.

  10. You better talk me off the ledge, Fun Police.

    Ha, well, you don’t need me to tell you, Alex, you are correct and you’re also not Snitker’s intended audience here. Campaign for more normie fans to care about this stuff, and Snitker will start saying the more intelligent things he probably thinks. I guess what you’re doing here is a start!

    I want Muller in the rotation, Smyly in the pen, and I want the best 13 pitchers on the big league roster when we’re playing the best teams in baseball. Stop playing games with options and other BS.

    I want Corbin Burnes in the rotation, Paul Sewald in the pen, a new Kurosawa movie, another Portal sequel, Kanye in the White House, some cheddar bay biscuits from Red Lobster, and for Braves fans to be a little less myopic about roster decisions over the course of a long season.

  11. @9, @10

    The history Martin has with Turner is essentially irrelevent since the elimination of sticky stuff. I said this on Twitter earlier but it appears Snit pays no attention to the effect sticky stuff had for our staff as he just rolls guys out there like it is still 2020 and seems surprised when they fail. Just because Martin and Smith are our highest paid relievers doesn’t make it smart to use them with the game on the line, hurt feelings be damned. David Price is a highly paid Dodger (who isn’t though?) but they aren’t leaving high leverage situations to him just beacuse of his cost. I guess I just want to win too badly to care about salary level…give me effectiveness 100 times out of 100

  12. The Athletic.

    Would you like to rejoin this esteemed mag for a dollar sixty six cents a month if you had once given up on it? Such is the blandishment that arrived in my mailbox overnight so you can imagine my Scots blood stirred. Of course! Why ever not? A bargain.

    Well, yes, but. Living here now in America- and delighted to be – I want to read about baseball. Only baseball. Not basketball, not football, in any of their guises. Pro or amateur. School or pros. At first exposure I gradually began to lose interest, they were beginning to bore me. Now, forty years on I have come to actively dislike the way they are played and, more particularly, administered – football above all. So what?

    So I feel about them the way you likely feel about soccer, NIMBY. Or my mailbox. The Athletic of course covers all, they feel they have to, pull everybody in. Don’t say you don’t have to read it please. I won’t but it’s there, it contaminates.

    Twenty bucks a year, eh? Where do I sign?

  13. I want Corbin Burnes in the rotation, Paul Sewald in the pen, a new Kurosawa movie, another Portal sequel, Kanye in the White House, some cheddar bay biscuits from Red Lobster, and for Braves fans to be a little less myopic about roster decisions over the course of a long season.

    This is a good list. I still want Muller in the rotation (not changing that), but I want Josh Hader in the pen, a new Jack Reacher movie, another normal Batman sequel (none of this weird crap they’ve been doing where he’s wearing stupid suits and whatnot), no more celebrity Presidents, some Texas Roadhouse rolls, and for you to STFU about keeping Muller out of the rotation. :)

  14. If the Braves blow this division largely due to a leaky bullpen, would any of us really be surprised?

  15. For me, I want Kenny “The Heater” DeNunez in the rotation, someone who’s never heard of sticky stuff in the pen, Patrick Rothfuss to finally finish the Kingkiller Chronicles, a Percy Jackson TV series that doesn’t suck, Gandalf in the White House, some Ice Cream delivered to my house from Creole Creamery in New Orleans, and for Braves fans to accept that Indigo Diaz will be our next Craig Kimbrel.

  16. I just had to Google Paul Sewald. Man, there was a time when I actually followed the sport of baseball, but I now just grouse about the Braves. I feel like Charles Wallace in A Wind in the Door when he learns the value of settling down and growing roots rather than just remaining a child forever.

    I want Muller in the pen, Touki Toussaint to have consistent command and stay in the rotation, Christian Pache to be able to hit his weight, an Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion, a new Faith No More album, a new Jet Li movie, and eating chicken wings, listening to metallica, drinking Keystone Light, and wanting to get into the stadium to scream as loud as you can.

  17. A couple of things. I think it’s common in big games like this for a manager to overmanage his bullpen. I think Snit is doing that.

    Secondly, people have complained about Will Smith, but Martin is probably the bigger problem. He has not seemed right for quite some time now. At times he’s battled through some issues, but he’s not the same pitcher he’s been. I think him not being right or injured has had a direct impact on us not going further in the playoffs the last 2 years.

  18. @16 – I mentioned it a few days ago. He has a neck strain or inability to pitch, take your pick. The comment about the neck strain coming from watching too many balls go over the fence was priceless.

  19. @20

    Alex, I loved your passions list but there was one where you appeared to be in conflict with something you talked here about a year or two back. Onions. Not Outback bloomers.

    Varsity Onion Rings I believe they were back then. You mentioned they were so delicious you feared for your health. Is that why they disappeared, you’ve stuck to your self imposed ban?

  20. If the Braves blow this division largely due to a leaky bullpen, would any of us really be surprised?

    Largely? Should this season require an autopsy, it’s gonna be more like figuring out if the piano landed on the victim’s head before the bullets entered his body from nearly every direction and he spontaneously combusted.

    In other words, the bullpen might’ve been fixed by now if so many other things hadn’t gone wrong first.

  21. I picked Paul Sewald for my bullpen because 1) it seemed like a hipster thing to do and 2) I wanted to make sure people could add to their lists of former Mets who’ve immediately prospered elsewhere.

  22. @23, to be honest, now that I’m no longer in Atlanta, I go to the Varsity vanishingly rarely. I don’t eat a ton of deep-fried onions any more generally, but good God I love them and utterly inhale them when I have the opportunity.

  23. @25 – I went back and forth between radio and TV announcers last night. In both cases they were in agreement that the home plate umpire was abhorrent. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Francoeur so sarcastic about ball and strike calls.

  24. As explained in the next post, I don’t expect to recap tonight. Try to enjoy the next piece instead…

  25. Let me try to restate what got eaten up regarding the latest example of Philly good fortune.

    Soto came up to lead off the Nats bottom of the ninth. He was the obvious biggest threat to the Phillies one run lead(from 6-0 down in the 6th to 7/6 now.

    After one swing he took time out to kick and scuff around on the dirt where his feet came from. TOOK A LONG TIME, EVENTUALLY ENDED UP WITH TWO BIG PILES, THE TOP OF WHICH HE HAD NOT BEEN ABLE TO STAMP TIGHT. THEY REMAINED LOOSE.

    So, next swing, mighty lurch, face screwed up, hands to his eyes. Never saw it he told the catcher. Strike 2.
    Strike 3, identical problem with his eyes. Game effectively over. LUCKY!!

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