Braves 4, Padres 3

Will Smith threw a hitless 9th to pick up his 35th save.

After walking the bases loaded, and with a little help from the home plate umpire. A couple of borderline strike calls on Fernando Tatis and Trent Grisham were the difference for Smith between 14 strikes out of 31 pitches, and 12. Smith ultimately struck out the side; Tatis with runners on 1st and 2nd, and Grisham and Ha-seong Kim consecutively with the bases loaded.

Coupled with today’s Phillies loss to the Pirates, the Braves open a 2.5 game lead going into the pivotal and long anticipated penultimate series against Philadelphia, starting Tuesday in Atlanta. The Braves take 3 in a row from the Padres, the road portion of the 2021 schedule is concluded, and the magic number stands at 5.

If you’ve been paying any attention the last few weeks, the words “Bullpen Game” should terrify you, and that should continue to be the case. The Braves tried to get a second inning out of Jacob Webb in the 4th, and he coughed up a 3 – 0 Braves lead. Despite recording 8 otherwise scoreless innings, the bullpen was not inspiring. Drew Smyly gave up 2 hits and 1 walk in his 1 2/3 innings, Richard Rodriguez sandwiched a hit between his 2 outs, and Tyler Matzek gave up 2 hits and 1 walk while recording 3 outs. Will Smith, see above.

On the bright side, Jesse Chavez started for the Braves and gave up 1 hit in his 1 1/3 innings, and Luke Jackson bailed out Matzek in the 7th, striking out Kim with 2 runners on, and ended with o hits and 1 walk in 1 1/3 innings.

A.J. Minter threw 2 pitches and got the win.

Joc Pederson got a start Sunday in place of Adam Duvall, which meant that he owed us a home run, and he delivered in the 2nd inning to put the Braves up 1 – 0. The Braves added 2 more in the 4th on doubles by Austin Riley and Travis d’Arnaud, and a 2 out pinch hit bloop single from Ehire Adrianza. The difference maker came in the 6th when Pederson walked and scored on pinch hitter Orlando Arcia‘s double down the right field line. Big help from the bench today.

The Braves are carrying 15 pitchers, and I might trust 6 of them, if you think dominating Arizona means you trust Ian Anderson. But here’s the thing. Add Charlie Morton and Max Fried to that, with Chavez, Matzek, and Jackson, and you might make a playoff run if you can get there.

Anyway, win, win, win. Morton and Zack Wheeler scheduled on Tuesday. Finish them.

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.

118 thoughts on “Braves 4, Padres 3”

  1. Good defense today too. Freddie’s over-the-shoulder running catch and two plays by Dansby. And playing non-CFs in center hasn’t hurt much recently. Duvall isn’t a CF, but he can fake it decently enough. I cringe when I see Pederson out there, but it seems to be working for now.

  2. Brilliant opening line, Rusty. Bravo.

    And to JamesD84’s suggestion at the end of the previous thread, it would require thinking outside the box from a guy so far in the box that he’s going back to Atlanta via FedEx.

  3. Here’s the comment from JamesD84 that I JC’d.

    “If I were Snit, I’d be tempted to see how far the team could get in the playoffs with a 3-man rotation and Ynoa as closer. His biggest problem is only having two good pitches, right? At least in the short term, that’s one more than a closer needs.

    The rotation would be Morton-Fried-Anderson, with Smyly as a 2- or 3-inning reliever piggybacked with Anderson. Give Jackson and Matzek and Minter and Chavez the rest of the high- and medium-leverage innings and have Smith, Santana, and Rodriguez pitch if down by 3+. If Snit doesn’t want to totally disrespect Smith, he could make him a one-inning opener for Morton or Anderson; that might shake things up while still giving him a role.

    Snit wouldn’t consider it, of course, unless Smith is injured or blows several more saves in horrendous fashion.”

  4. If there’s one thing that 2021 me would like to tell 1995 me, it is that “trust” is hard, life is short, joy is fleeting, tempus is fugit, transit is gloria, and nemo me is impune lascessit.

    (That last un’s for blazon.)

  5. Last night’s sleep interruption. Not a true nightmare, rather a brutal cameo arrived, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded.

    There was no continuity to tell what happened next. The camera pulled back, about to show the next pitch in the context of the crowded bases. To make the point. Then I saw him.

    There was no Duval. His replacement was down on one knee.

    Contreras. Mercy, but you knew there would be none.

  6. Yes, it was Duval. Why, I have no idea. Dreams, you know. But I do believe we owe a great debt of gratitude to TDA. Can you imagine what an extended horror show that must have been for him? Bravo!

  7. Brilliant opening, Rusty. Folks are being too hard on Will Smith. If it weren’t for those 22 extra pitches, he would have had an immaculate inning.

  8. Snit’s an idiot. Why does he keep using Hancock instead of 2003 John Smoltz? Any doofus can see that 2003 Smoltz is better.

  9. #11
    Call it a longshot if they don’t. However…

    They could win 2 of 3 in ATL, then sweep the Marlins in Miami & watch us lose 2 of 3 to the Mets… then lose our Monday game vs. Colorado. Then the Phils win outright.

    It’s not that crazy to imagine.

  10. @ 11,

    Well the magic number to WIN (not tie) is 5. If Braves win 1, that counts as one Philly loss and one Braves win. So that would put it at 3 with 3 games left for the Phillies and 3 (possibly 4) for the Braves. So, if Braves go 1-2 in each series and Phillies do 2-1 in each, then Braves would play Colorad in Atlanta on 10/4.

    So, if Phils take 2 of 3, they have a tough, but not impossible, road. If they take 1 0f 3, they aren’t “ded”, but damn close to it.

  11. @10, 11–or if the Phils take 2 of 3 from us, and then sweep the Fish, while we get swept by the Mets. Even then we haven’t been eliminated, but we’d have to beat the Rockies on Monday to force the one game playoff.
    Even if the Braves take 2 of 3 from the Phillies, it’s not technically over. But in that case the Phils would have to sweep the Fish, and the Braves get swept by the Mets and lose to the Rockies to force the one playoff.
    Bottom line, as long as the Braves take at least one from the Phillies, it looks pretty good. Getting swept, though, would be a big problem.

  12. 14-Your first point is wrong, if Phils take 2 of 3 and sweep MIA and Atl gets swept by NYM, then Philly wins outright.

  13. Over the next six games, the Phils will be facing Morton, Fried, Anderson, Alcantara, and Rogers. Good luck to them.

  14. Best way to look at it is Atlanta’s magic number is 5 and Philly’s magic number is 10. There are 13 possible results (7 ATL games and 6 Phi). If the split is 9-4 the Phillies way on those results, there will be a 1-game playoff in Philly and we will all note that we are only there because of the Bohm game.

  15. Feels like playoffs baseball before the playoffs have even started. Who would have thought we would be in this position when we lost RAJ.

  16. Having stayed up to watch last night’s game (eventual finish 1.00am) I found that I actually couldn’t watch the bottom of the 9th, as I felt that another painful defeat was inevitable

    So, headphones in, phone turned over with just Chip and Tom for company. I know Chip has a majority of detractors (really needs to get off the Rilry for MVP wagon, bless him) but commentary with no picture was a different experience

    As I recall, there was generous use of the word generous around the strike zone, but there’s no debating his enthusiasm in big moments that go in the Braves’ favour. At least I slept well without the ghost of Will Smith to haunt me – we can wait until the playoffs for that

  17. A lot of the time when Will Smith pitches, he winds up turning around to look at the scoreboard, too, so that makes two of you.

  18. @21
    I thought Chip’s call of the strike out to end it was the best call of his career. It was really good.

  19. I’m among those who are often critical of things Chip says, but I agree with Rob generally that his call of crucial moments is pretty fun, and I agree particularly with Smitty @21 that the strikeout call was very good.
    On the other hand, I had a towel over my head during the bottom of the 9th so I wasn’t seeing or hearing very well.

  20. I can’t really enjoy Chip’s “big” calls because of his endless warning track HR calls. For me, his biggest call was Heyward’s 1st home run. I wasn’t as jaded back then ……..and it was a tremendous call too.

    Still get goosebumps.

  21. Let me agree with everyone that Chip’s enthusiasm in the winning moments is just fine. I have to point out, though, that his premature enthusiasm is constantly cited by others (not me) as one of his most annoying features. As I learned in my youth, premature ejaculation is rarely satisfying to anyone.

  22. @29 OMG! NAILED IT!

    It’s truly easy to “nail” calls when he literally starts 40% of fly balls off like they’re going upper deck. It’s the biggest announcer cheat of all time. Literally requires 0 skill of judgment.

    And yes, Chip nailed the Heyward call. However, I was at this game and every single person in the stadium knew what had just happened at the crack of the bat. It’s still the quickest ball hit out of the park I’ve ever seen live.

  23. If Braves go 2 – 4 in last 6 and Phills are 1/2 game out do we have to play a missed game somewhere ??Colorado got rained out right ???

  24. @30 Totally agree with you about Chip. I wasn’t at the Heyward game and didn’t quite have the same viewpoint. I also didn’t have quite the same level of contempt for Chip at the time. He is horrid at his job from the premature HR calls, to his laziness at refusing to understand that lack of errors does not necessarily = great defense, to his basic lack of understanding of currently accepted stats, to his general complaining. Unlike Tom, Paul, and Frenchy this is Chip’s career. He should always be working to get better. Instead he rests on his last name. I sincerely hope his sons are more like grandpa than Dad.

  25. mlbtv had the Pads gamecast on and I really liked those guys. They were entertaining and informative only when they needed to be. They seemed to be straight up and not big “homers”. Of course, they were playing out the string as it was the last Pads home game, but still low key and entertaining.

    I didn’t get the names but I’m guessing it was Don Orsillo and Mark Grant.

  26. Great story.

    I remember playing a tournament in Little League when I was 12. We were watching the opponent’s pitcher warm up & he wasn’t exactly bringing it. The catcher’s glove was barely popping & we started to get a little cocky, thinking we were about to light the guy up.

    But when you got in the box against him, you realized that, with his somewhat bizarre windup, you couldn’t see the ball at all until it seemed to just pop out of his shoulder. It was so confusing that you couldn’t get a good swing. We managed to win 3-1, I remember, but lotsa Ks & soft contact the whole game. He was the toughest pitcher I ever faced back then & he couldn’t throw the ball thru wet paper.

  27. @35–that’s fascinating stuff, Alex–thanks!

    I was thinking of Sid Fernandez as I was reading, and sure enough he was brought up toward the end. His average fastball velocity never explained his excellent K rates. I wonder if our own Rich Rod is a ball hider. His heavily used (but not all that fast) fastball gets better results than you’d predict.

    I also though of Gene Garber, whose funky delivery included both turning his back on the batter and also an unusually low arm angle.

  28. So… we tried to trade Gorkys Hernandez for Nate McLouth again, but for some reason the Bucs said no.

  29. @38,39–I wonder who was the Charlie Morton equivalent in the Braves’ offer this time. In any event, if Bryan Reynolds turns out to be McLouth, we dodged a bullet.

    Of course, I would imagine Reynolds will turn out to be far better than McLouth over the next few years. It’s still hard to imagine how he could fall off a cliff just as he was entering his prime.

  30. Chip: “Segura dives!”

    Segura, in fact, ran to his right fairly routinely without leaving his feet.

  31. This is pretty much where we were with Charlie last Thursday. So, if anyone wants to do any first-guessing, now’s the time. I say send him back out.

  32. Yeah, Morton in TTO (but after Harper) with 88 pitches for one more inning plus one bullpen inning plus one Will Smith inning sounds better than two bullpen innings plus a Will Smith inning. Really need some Will Woom, though.

  33. With 2 LHH due up (including Hooper) Matzek probably pitches the 8th.

    Edit: Never mind, the 9th spot was due up, not the leadoff man. It’s Cool Hand Luke.

  34. Chip and Jeff talking about how the Braves’ bullpen gives them a big advantage. Overall, that may be true, but knowing we will see Hancock in the 9th doesn’t feel like an advantage.

  35. Will Smith should not be facing the heart of an order in a high-leverage situation. And he should not be closing. Our manager is obtuse.

  36. What the hell?

    This one’s going to leave a mark when we blow it. And walking the winning run on base with a power hitter now coming up seems … dumb.

  37. Smith has thrown 20+ pitches again tonight. He’s gotta get the next couple of days off regardless of what happens here.

  38. @81 That’s misleading. He had a day off yesterday. Yes, he was used 3 nights in a row, then had a day off, and here he is again.

  39. Everybody is tattooing the ball off Smith. He obviously has even less than usual. Well, maybe we’ll get lucky.

  40. The error means unearned runs, but Will Smith remains terrible.

    And if Newcomb is really going to be the guy Snitker brings in next if needed, the guy has really lost his marbles.

  41. Sometimes when you hit on 20 you get an ace.

    Edit – to be clear, that’s not a pun suggesting that Hancock is an ace

  42. You guys were worried?
    Please rest hancock for at least a couple of days.
    He is at about 90 pitches in the last 4 appearances in 5 days.

  43. To quote the great Harry Caray, “Holy Cow!!”

    The best part is that Matzek or Jackson is probably the closer tomorrow.

  44. But how about that Morton guy???? What a performance. He is worth every single red cent.

    And tomorrow, Varsity goes for the deuce. They have no one to be as good as Wheeler – even Nola. Hopefully, we get tomorrow’s game, too.

  45. @109: To give Snit (or possibly Walt Weiss) some credit, Duvall doesn’t catch that ball… not even close.

  46. Smith was fine tonight. The only issue I have was walking Harper in a spot where he couldn’t hurt you, but he was perfectly fine outside of that. He even had to get four outs and did. Occasionally a game comes where you have to give him his due credit, folks.

  47. “I can’t see anything but positive in what Will is doing.”

    Get yourself to an ophthalmologist, Snit

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