The second consecutive bullpen game proved to be one too many for the Braves, who squandered a 1st inning grand slam by Adam Duvall as well as the first of their three potential chances to close out the series.
The Astros comeback started with 2 runs in the top of the 2nd; they tied it with 2 more in the 3rd. A Yuli Gurriel single in the 2nd, followed by a Kyle Tucker walk, led to an RBI double by Alex Bregman and a sacrifice fly from Martin Maldonado. A lead off boot by Dansby Swanson in the 3rd allowed Jose Altuve to reach, then a Michael Brantley walk marked the end of the night for Braves starter Tucker Davidson. Carlos Correa doubled in Altuve off Jesse Chavez, then Brantley scored on a Gurriel ground out.
Davidson was not sharp, throwing 28 strikes and 25 balls in 2+ innings, walking 3. He allowed 2 hits, and was charged with 4 runs; the 2 in the 3rd were unearned.
Freddie Freeman answered that comeback immediately, however. His 460 footer to right center leading off the bottom of the 3rd put the Braves back on top, 5 – 4. Unfortunately, the Braves had no answer for the next Astros comeback.
Houston broke it open in the 5th against A.J. Minter. Correa and Gurriel hit 1 out singles, then each advanced on a ground out by Tucker. After an intentional walk to Bregman to load the bases, Minter could not throw strikes to the light hitting Maldonado. The walk tied the game, then a pinch hit single by Marwin Gonzalez plated the 6th and 7th Astros runs.
The Astros tacked on a run in both the 7th and 8th innings off Drew Smyly. Smyly ended up with 3 innings pitched, allowing 5 hits and striking out 5.
Austin Riley added 3 hits for the Braves, and Travis d’Arnaud had 2. Chris Martin had a good outing, and the Astros did not get a look at Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek, or Will Smith.
In the same manner that the Braves closed out the Dodgers, the Braves will aim to close it out in 6 games on Tuesday at 8:09 EDT, this time on the road. Max Fried will undoubtedly start it for Atlanta. The Astros used game 2 starter Jose Urquidy in relief for 14 pitches; the impact of that decision is to be determined.
Feeling good about Tuesday.
Not feeling good about Monday. Can’t win on Monday.
The Battery was absolutely electric tonight, it exploded when Duvall went deep, and when Freddie did as well. Unfortunately, that was pretty much it for the offense… gosh, to be handed 4 runs in the bottom of the first and then watch as we slowly let them chisel away at the lead was just agonizing. But it’s OK. We’ll win Tuesday.
The game was really fun, until it wasn’t… still a memorable experience.
And I did get to meet UGA nose-guard Jordan Davis, who was a wonderful fellow. (Thanks for Saturday, big guy.)
Here’s to closing ’em out in Houston. It’ll happen.
I didnâ€™t get a chance to tune in last night until the 5th inningâ€¦ the Astros werenâ€™t banging any trash cans but the Bravesâ€™ play was pure garbage.
Better luck on Tuesday, boys.
That’s ok. They have to beat us 3 times before we can beat them once. That’s really hard to do, just like it was for the Dodgers last series.
Fried or Anderson handing over to the Night Shift one good time over these next 2 games probably means a world championship for Atlanta. I like our chances.
That was just an awful game. The Astros formidable bats were awakened. Can they be silenced again or will the Braves bats need to answer back at them. At least a real major league player is pitching on Tuesday. At least Freddie finally woke his bat up. At least we never get to see the name Smyly on a Braves jersey again.
No repeat of the NLCS last year please.
I am driving to Beaufort, NC today for a vacation meeting an old high school friend. I had really wanted all of this to be over with.
Can they be silenced again or will the Braves bats need to answer back at them.
I mean, we have our two best pitchers going for us. I sure hope so. And let’s say Anderson gets bombed in game 7, there is Kyle Wright there too. I would think they’ll go with Urquidy in game 6, and I think we can get to him.
Everyone is being a bit hard on Smyly, he wasn’t great, but had Snitker stuck with what had been working and got a clean first out of Chavez then turned to Smyly and he gives you the same thing he game last night (3IP, 2R one of which shouldn’t have scored as Altuve was out) Atlanta would have been in a much better position to win this game. We didn’t get beat because of Smyly and he saved some wear and tear on our overused pen.
@3, the Asterisks are starting Garcia on short rest in G6. One silver lining from G5 was that they burned their G6 starter in relief.
Manfully done, Rusty.
Whoever would have wanted to have to put that dirge on the record, let alone in strict time.
My hat’s off to you, Sir.
The Astros aren’t bad, we’ll get them tomorrow. Go Braves!
Finally had one in our favor, for what it’s worth. This furthers my opinion that the main utility of this exercise is the individual pitches missed and how bad. The expected runs swing means precisely squat.
@10 – Thank you Sir. I have to admit it wasn’t nearly as much fun as the one I was hoping to write. I don’t generally have time to write in the mornings, so that’s why Sunday is usually best for me.
Nice reporting, Rusty. Thanks.
Since we’ve discussed this before, I thought it worth noting that UmpScorecards says that last night the Braves were the net beneficiary of incorrect ball-strike calls.
Last night was the first time this entire postseason where I was bothered by Snitker’s decisions. For me, it all goes back to leverage and there wasn’t a larger high leverage situation than what presented itself in the 2nd inning. After 1 out, Gurriel singles and Tucker walks and you’ve got Bregman up and he carries a career .981 OPS against LHP. Nothing is more important at that point in time and the best RHP on the team should’ve been brought in. We know what happened, Bregman doubled, sac fly, and it’s 4-2. And then…the dagger the next: error, walk, Chavez enters and a double.
Snitker has done a fantastic job this postseason, but one thing that has always bothered me with him is the idea of high leverage. He seems to think that high leverage is only for late-innings, but there was nothing more important in that game than to try and get out of the second without giving up a run. To have Tucker go back out in the 3rd was just BRUTAL.
I don’t like that Davidson gave up two in the 2nd but the key play was the Dansby error on a routine ground ball. With that out, Davidson ends up looking as good as Smyly and we have a 4-2 lead with Chavez starting with a clean inning. Minter might still have screwed the pooch but that might not have been as bad tied at 5-5 rather than 7-5.
I agree that Snit blew it by not going ahead and replacing Davidson after the 2nd but it would not have been fatal without the error. Two errors in one series for Dansby is so unusual almost freaky. Has to be the extra pressure of a World Series.
If this is the future of baseball, bullpen games, pitchers that haven’t pitched all season starting games, 5-7 pitchers pitching in every game, I’ll be out.
I want the Braves to win the WS tomorrow but these games are nigh unwatchable garbage to me.
I think the Dansby error is right up there with Buckner.
Using Urquidi hurts them in the next game. Can we get Max to go six?
Convince me that Max won’t be just a BP session for the Astros. He’s shown me nothing so far that gives me confidence. His arm looks tired and he’s gonna get rocked throwing low-90s fastballs.
@17: I hear ya, but I mean, our number one starter got his leg broken in Game 1, and their top guy went down with an arm injury right before the series started. That has had a ripple effect on both staffs.
I tend to be a pessimist (I’m probably the anti-Rob Copenhaver in this regard), and I suspect that this series was lost when Morton got knocked out–we just didn’t know it yet. It’s taken a superhuman effort by the relievers (especially the lefties) to get us this far, but I fear the pixie dust has now blown off. If we’d seen the Max Fried of a month ago yet in the last couple of weeks, perhaps I’d feel different, but we haven’t. It’s very possible the Astros are just a bad match-up for him. And as tough as Aqualung can be, he doesn’t pitch deep into games.
In short, from where I sit, this is not setting up well for Atlanta. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong.
With two bullpen games in a row I think Snitker went into the game conceding that unless Davidson got really hot, we would lose. He didn’t want to burn his best relievers and he seemed content to take the loss if it meant keeping pitchers fresh for games 6 and 7 if needed. The wildcard was the grand slam in the first. Snitker possibly should have changed his strategy and gone all out to win after that. The only counter to this was that the hottest reliever he used last night was Minter and he had the worst outing of anyone.
There was a lot of flukes in the second inning of game two. Max really settled in after.
You won’t be. You’ll adapt. Just like we adapted to the DH. If this is the game adapting long-term, we will adapt as fans and you’ll still be here in 5 years.
I tend to be a pessimist (Iâ€™m probably the anti-Rob Copenhaver in this regard)
Whoa, whoa, how did I become the poster child of optimism?! Haha.
If this is the future of baseball, bullpen games, pitchers that havenâ€™t pitched all season starting games, 5-7 pitchers pitching in every game, Iâ€™ll be out.
You ain’t going anywhere.
I mean, I don’t like it either. But I also liked No Time To Die, so I’m malleable when it comes to the way forces impact my hobbies.
@23 I don’t know what the spin rate data says, but it didn’t look flukey. It looked like Fried’s curveball didn’t have much bite.
I’d roll this lineup out for Game 6
Pederson isn’t giving us anything with the bat, why not focus on preventing runs?
The second inning we had some defensive lapses. Max sat down 9 in a row at one point (I think)
@29 Good point. I forgot about the bad defense.
Weâ€™re one win from a WS title, folks, and we have two more chances to get it, with our two best* SPs on full rest, and a mostly rested bullpen. Nothing is guaranteed of course, but we are still in really good shape. Enjoy the moment – they donâ€™t come around often enough.
by best I mean â€œonlyâ€.
I agree. If Morton doesn’t break his leg, there is a parade tomorrow.
We need two things to happen, get some sort of early lead or tie and have Max be sharp for at least 5 innings.
Then we turn it over to Jackson, Matzek and Smith.