After a one week home stand, the Braves are On the Road Again. No doubt they have Georgia on Their Mind, but tonight they found themselves Deep in the Heart of Texas.
And here I am, recapping another Friday night game. The (Friday) Night Life ainâ€™t no good life, but itâ€™s my life. In truth, it ainâ€™t such a bad life at allâ€”the Braves are now 4-0 on Fridays in the young season.
Behind a strong start from Ian Anderson and four home runs from the offense, the Braves defeated the Rangers 6-3.Â There will be no Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain tonight.Â Tomorrow may turn out to be a Bloody Mary Morning, but in celebration rather than an effort to forget tonightâ€™s game.
There has been a lot of talk about the dead ball this season, how balls that would have been gone in previous years have dying short of the walls. In the top of the first, Austin Riley said, Hello Walls. Hereâ€™s a drive that thatâ€™s going far past you. Because Travis Demeritte had led off with a single, that made it 2-0 in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Ian Anderson gave up a solo homer to the brother of Greek God Garcia. 2-1.
In the 3rd, Demeritte didnâ€™t hit it over the walls, but he did homer, of the inside the park variety. 3-1.Â (Isnâ€™t it fun to watch Travis seize this opportunity?) In the 4th, Contreras also homered, the regular way.Â 4-1.Â The bats and the weather are heating up. Speaking of heating up, Dansby hit a ringing double in the 5th and eventually scored on a poor and ill advised throw. Â 5-1.Â In the 6th, Contreras hit another bomb, this one even longer and harder than his earlier dinger. 6-1. (“Shotgun Willie”? h/t Michael Kasper)
You may have noticed that the second number in the scores in the last paragraph remained â€œ1â€ while the Braves were pounding away.Â Anderson was sharp.Â He wasnâ€™t efficientâ€”the kid throws a lot of pitches–but he had the Rangers pounding balls into the ground, and kept them off the off the scoreboard again until the 6th. Semien doubled and scored on a couple of groundouts to make it 6-2 after 6.Â Anderson went six innings, striking out 5, surrendering only 3 hits and the 2 runs.Â Most impressively, he induced 12 groundball outs.
Pancho and Lefty (Chavez and Matzek) pitched the 7th. Chavez got two outs but also surrendered two hits, so Matzek came in to get the third out. Will Smith had the 8th, giving up a solo shot to Cory Seager, but no other damage. Because that made it 6-3 (and the Braves didnâ€™t score in the 9th), Jansen had the opportunity to get a save. Which he did, in 1-2-3 fashion. Kenley is now 6 for 6 in saves. He owes Will Smith, not only for stepping aside from his 9th inning role, but specifically for making tonightâ€™s save possible.
More three true outcome offense by the Braves tonight: 4 homers, 7 walks, and 13 strikeouts. Iâ€™m not complaining; any time you get 6 extra base hits and 7 walks in a game, youâ€™re in great shape. By the way, even more exciting to me than all the homers is that Ozzie walked three times.
By the way, they did this offensive breakout without Ronald. Nothing wrong with him–they are just being cautious as he eases back in. For now, this Angel is Flying Too Close to the Ground. But it won’t be long until he soars.
I’ll leave it to JonathanF and others to critique Chip’s performance tonight. I have to say I missed the insights of Paul Byrd. We received our education in the cities of the nation, Me and Paul.
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As Iâ€™ve noted here before, Iâ€™ve been a Braves fan since 1966. Gee, Ainâ€™t it Funny How Time Slips Away? Still for better or for worse, the Bravos have been Always on My Mind. There have been some seasons in which Iâ€™ve been tempted to let Whisky River take my mind; donâ€™t let those memories torture meâ€”memories of Kirby Puckett, Jim Leyritz, Livan Hernandez (or should I say Eric Gregg); of bloop hits surrendered, of hard shots by Braves right into the shift, of freak injuries. To an outsider, tying yourself and your emotional energy to a team can seem Crazy. Iâ€™m Crazy for tryin, crazy for cryin, crazy for caring too much about them. But truth is, Iâ€™d Have To Be Crazy, clean out of my mind, to root for any other team.
Mama, Donâ€™t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Cowboys. Or Rangers, for that matter.
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Willie Hugh Nelson was born on this date, April 29, in 1933, in Abbott, Texas.Â Happy 89th Birthday, Willie!Â Heâ€™s still recording, touring, and performing.Â Willieâ€™s an inspiration to me and lots of others of a certain age; heâ€™s shown what clean and upright living can do. All in all, he’s provided us with A Beautiful Time, (see comment 3 below), and it’s not over yet.
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You probably also heard that today is Ron Washingtonâ€™s 70th birthday. Happy Birthday, Wash! He is another inspiration to me.
Tomorrow night the Braves go for 3 in a row and a .500 record behind Bryce Elder. Bryce grew up in Decatur, Texas, only about an hour away from this ballpark.
Hey, Good Lookin’. Thanks for cookin’ up a well structured recap.
Hey Buddy, thanks for the recap! It’d sure be nice to get three in a row, I’m confident Bryce can bring it. And if the offense keeps hittin’… we’ll be in good shape tomorrow (well, since it’s 3 in the morning, tonight).
How about ol’ Billy Contreras putting two balls on the moon last night?! That was pretty awesome to see the kid hit. It’s amazing how deep our roster is when it comes to catchers.
Related: turns out Willie (Nelson, not Contreras) just put out a new record on his birthday! Crazy.
I loved the new song. On vocals or guitar: still brings it.
Thank you, T. Go Braves.
Thanks to all for the kind comments.
I updated the update with two more Willie Nelson song references, thanks to seeds planted by Michael Kasper. My incorporation of the song titles is sometimes strained and often lame, I realize, but I didn’t want a milestone like Willie’s 89th to go unrecognized. And I agree that he doesn’t seem to have lost much in the singing or guitar playing departments.
MLB knows a lot more than is publicly known about Bauer’s conduct.
MLB is helping the Dodgers solve a problem and save $70MM.
I’ll go with the second option.
@3 and @5: my favorite line is where he says “if I ever get old, I’ll still love the road” — on the song released on his EIGHTY-NINTH birthday!! I think that’s awesome.
@6 I think it’s very likely that MLB knows a lot more, and they will have spent a lot more time and resources investigating it than a police department would, that’s for sure. Overworked/underpaid cops can’t afford to drop everything for 8 months and focus on one case, but MLB has been able to assemble a team of the best investigators and lawyers in the biz to investigate Bauer, simply because the suspension decision is one with serious economic ramifications for MLB. If they decided not to punish, and more information comes out about him, it would definitely bring some reputational damage to the league. So this is one case where I actually trust the league’s research process better than the legal system, simply because they have both the resources and the motivation to pursue the issue much more in-depth than the legal department. Plus, we KNOW for a fact that charges have a way of getting dropped when you are rich / famous… I was looking at a musician or singer’s Wikipedia page (“Kodack Black” I believe) the other day and boy, in the last 6 years, this guy has every type of charge you could imagine… drugs, guns, child endangerment, sexual assault, rape, lying on government forms while buying a firearm (commuted by the President)… and yet every serious charge seemed to magically end with probation, house arrest (while still being allowed to tour the world), or a few months in a country club jail. The system just works differently when you have connections.
There’s a lot of people going around saying Bauer was found not guilty (or worse, saying he was found INNOCENT) despite the fact that “not being charged” and “being found not guilty” are massively different things.
Yeah, I’m willing to go with that, too.
Two run or more lead Smith is your man.
If MLB uncovered evidence to the effect of a 2 year suspension, albeit perhaps circumstantial or inadmissible in court, it seems a prosecutor would have at least been able to establish probable cause to charge Bauer. I guess we won’t know until the appeal is over. It just comes off to me as a case of a guy who made the wrong enemies, and they want to throw him in the deep fryer.
@10 that’s true… and maybe they have, maybe there’s more charges coming, I just figure the legal system would be lagging way behind (time-wise). If I remember correctly, I thought they DID announce that they’d uncovered some new stuff yesterday, but I was never all that plugged into the details of the situation (because ew).
Re: Ozuna, Bauer and everyone else. Here’s the thing: baseball (and every other sport, and, in high profile cases, the justice system) do this not out of concern for Bauer, or for his putative victims, but out of some finely-gauged assessment of their own public reputation. My biggest problem is that they are not only not very good at investigating stuff (not that they don’t throw resources at investigating… that’s partly for PR effect) but that have a terrible sense of people’s reactions, which is all they really care about. They’re not alone in this… we don’t have a good sense of our own future reactions, as you can see in that Ozuna, relegated to complete pariah status, has now been, if not redeemed, at least accepted. Without violating the Thomason Prime Directive, there’s a big trust issue around most institutions, and those institutions are dealing with that in a lot of ways that make people actually trust them less.
I don’t trust baseball to come to a conclusion about Bauer or Ozuna; I have slightly higher trust in the legal system, but since they aren’t forthcoming about details (for obvious privacy and fairness reasons) that trust is only slightly higher; I have almost no trust in media reporting about either case. The best I can do is cadge together a bunch of untrustworthy sources and use the commonalities and my own biases to draw my own conclusions which are mine and mine alone. And in these cases, my assessments are probably not worth much.
I do have some faith that an adjudicative process started by Bauer may yield something reliable. So I haven’t yet given up on all notions of uncovering truth. But trusting Rob Manfred to “do the right thing” on his say-so? Count me out.
That also sounds right on the money.
Also, tfloyd, that recap is as good as it gets, for me. Thank you.
Between Tfloydâ€™s recap and JonathanFâ€™s comment, the vets have put up MVP performances.
Obviously I disagree with what Ozzieâ€™s saying â€” Ozuna would have been out by a mile â€” but Iâ€™m fascinated by the shifting dynamic of player leadership in the beginning of the post-Freddie area, who emerges as leaders, the impact it will have on the team, and how cultures play a role. And while Iâ€™d like for Ozzie to probably not do it like that, I love that Ozzie is getting after him.
@12: â€œthe Thomason Prime Directive.â€ Heh.
@15 Idunno. One of the Braves’ personas is being aggressive on the basepaths. I know there’s good aggressive and bad aggressive but it’s possible that trying to score and getting out might have a better outcome than not trying. It’s always a percentage thing, but it may also be a signal that the players expect Ozuna to be better than his normal expectations to really gain support.
To me, it seems like in-season attention to Ozuna has been very lite and deferent. I wouldn’t mind seeing some people – players, announcers, executives – to be more upfront in talking about what Ozuna needs to do to regain acceptance.
All things being equal, I’d still rather have Soler than Ozuna, but I know money wouldn’t allow for that.
From last thread, cliff, thank you for explaining the Bauer situation.
We get to keep A. Dick in triple A! I don’t mind that, he’s such a great bench bat in case we get some injury bad-luck.
Also I’ve been listening to that new Willie Nelson record all day. BOY is it good!
Trevor Bauer had hard core anal sex with a woman while choking her. When she passed out, he punched her ass over and over until it was black and blue.
There are no questions, ladies and gents. Heâ€™s a despicable human. Move on.
I guess people werenâ€™t too excited to pick up a guy who canâ€™t play the field.
At the Rays game, and the battery is Cy Wisler and former Gator Mike Zunino. This is peak Copetainment.
Offense looks sharp so far
Just to be clear, I have no sympathies for Bauer.
Bryce Elder = Josh Tomlin
Misleading stat from Chip department:
He tells us that Ozzie has reached base in 18 of the 21 games this seasonâ€”I guess thatâ€™s supposed to impress us. But his OBP for the season is .316, which really isnâ€™t particularly good.
The nuance is that Ozzie is actually walking at higher rates than seasons past, so that even though his BA is only .222, his OBP is almost at his career average. That could be promising, although the small sample size probably makes it meaningless. The three BB last night really bumped up his walk rate for the season.
When was the last time the Braves drafted and developed a #1/#2 starting pitcher?
@27 in order to be a #1 or #2 it helps to throw harder than 91/92
27 â€” Kevin Millwood?
They didnâ€™t draft Fried but they did the developing.
They drafted Morton but he developed into a front line starter elsewhere.
Walks and walks and walks for Elder each start and it costs him again
@27â€“folksâ€™ definitions of a #1 or 2 starter vary a lotâ€”is it someone you feel great about in a crucial October series, or do you mean one of the top 60 starters in baseball.
Anyway, I think the Braves development of starters over the past seven years is pretty strong.
â€”They didnâ€™t draft Fried but itâ€™s fair to say they developed him. Heâ€™s a 1 or 2.
â€”Ian Anderson is a solid #3 who could easily develop into a #2.
â€”Soroka was already at least a #2 after the 2019 season. Who knows whether he can regain that.
â€”itâ€™s too early to count on it, but Kyle Wright has pitched like a top of the rotation guy so far. Check back in another year or two.
I donâ€™t think Bryce Elser will be in the category. He may turn out to be an Ok 4-5, but he may not.
Edit: what Tfloyd said
Edit2: this lineup is not as fun to watch as advertised
Elderâ€™s now walked more than he has struck out for the season. He is lucky his ERA isnâ€™t more than 6.
He might have to be optioned to make room for a starter tomorrow. Who is scheduled to pitch for Gwinnett?
Edit: or if Strider piggybacks for the rest of this game, they may just do a bullpen game.
@33 he should be optioned. Is Muller worse. I guess we will find out
Apparently Muller was scratched from his start today, so it will probably be him tomorrow.
You canâ€™t get too upset about the offense tonight. When you are facing someone with the career accomplishments and sheer star power of Dane Dunning, you shouldnâ€™t expect to do much against him.
@20 I totally agree FYI! I just find it interesting to see how this’ll play out, especially since the new info the MLB has discovered might actually lead to more criminal charges. 2-year suspension is nice but it sure would be REAL nice to see him in the San Quentin Yardball League for a little while.
@36: It can’t be a coincidence that Dane Dunning and Dizzy Dean and Don Drysdale all have the same initials.
I see they’re playing the old ” get a game under .500 but never actually reach .500″
I had enough of that last year
My God, this team can be so boring.
I think having Demeritte in LF would have prevented run #2 from scoring. This team has so much more mojo with Acuna in the field and Ozuna at DH.
And Matt Olson is definitely slumping big time – looks a lot like Freddie did early last year when he was slumping. Seems like only Demeritte and Riley are doing much on a consistent basis (TdA at times, too). That’s not gonna cut it for long.
I like the Elder – Millwood comparison. Elder looks a lot like he will be a solid innings eater, just short of a high rotation presence but a solid sometimes spectacular pitcher. A lot like what we wanted Bryse to be but never quite became. I do believe he will go back to AAA for a while. He’s still very young and hasn’t been that bad. If our pitchers only gave up 3 runs every game, we’d win a whole lot of them.
@31 Let’s not forget about Beachy and Medlen. No aces but borderline no. 2’s.
My Google Photos just reminded me of this photo I took four years ago today: Mike Soroka’s first MLB pitch. https://photos.app.goo.gl/EKQDeef5UwUzNqj59
I’ll be back in CitiField on Wednesday, but Mike won’t. I’m still hoping, but it’s really sad.
@43 that’s awesome. Hoping he’ll make it back.
Little short, late recap action.
I find it impossible to find believe the Braves have guality pitching coaches.
Walks in abundance tell me so.
Pathetic to say the least.
Speaking of pathetic. Today’s starting pitcher shows what happens with expansion. Too many AAA players in the major leagues. Too many AA players in the major leagues. Diluted product.