Blind Hogs and Acorns: Braves 9, Inhabitants of a glacial deposit (why do you think they call it “Flushing”) 2

Well, it had to happen. Not exactly “had to” as in you add heat with oxygen to hydrocarbons and you get fire. But eventually, the bats had to get a little better.

Ian Anderson didn’t read his fashion magazine last night. he definitely wasn’t his “best self.” But, 5 and a third giving up only 1 will usually win a game. The 5 hits and 4 walks to 1 strikeout were just meaningless components. We know better. Another round of that will put 5 on the board in less than 5.

Then, Colin McHugh, the man after Nicola Tesla’s heart (alternating current, get it?), came in and cleaned it up with only one of Anderson’s leftovers getting in.

But, the offense had just emerged (hopefully) from a season long hibernation mode. That is right. By the time Ian turned it over to McHugh it was 7 to 0. When 8 out of 9 batters reach base safely, then it is impossible to score less than 5 runs. But the Braves got 2 more than that. Surprisingly, the offensive star of the first month, Olson, made out 1 and out 2, then Riley made out 3 (after getting first on a hustle infield hit overturned on review). I am now reminding you people I told you when I saw Austin in Kissimmee in a previous decade that he was pretty good.

Minter followed McHugh and got 3 straight outs in 8. Then O’Day took the 9th and gave up one solo homer (up 9 to 1, throw strikes. If Josh Gibson hits it to Pittsburgh, so be it) but otherwise, O’Day nailed it.

Coming in, 2 out of 4 seemed o.k. After winning Monday the chance to pick up some games captivated us. After the putrified flesh of Tuesday, getting out with a split seems o.k.

These Mets may be for real. The hole is surprisingly big for this early. Maybe Steve Cohen has run the “lolMets” out of there. But, that was an awfully strong curse for all of these years and I believe that these Braves will be breathing down the Mets back by late June.

33 thoughts on “Blind Hogs and Acorns: Braves 9, Inhabitants of a glacial deposit (why do you think they call it “Flushing”) 2”

  1. So I’m now 2-0 live. Who’s taking up a collection to send me off with the team?

  2. Thanks cliff.

    Considering everything going a little wrong for the Braves, I’m happy with the overall outcome of this series.

    I don’t think 4 out of 9 lineup regulars will continue to have a below league average OPS. I also don’t think 4 of our 6 main SPs will have a below league average ERA. McHugh will probably have more outings like today than year to date.

    There’s probably some reasons to be optimistic that we’re better than we’ve shown.

  3. I think we have more reason to believe the mets aren’t this good, with their offensive stats (exit velo and stuff) near the bottom of the league. Even if they get Degrom back, their offense should regress heavily.

    Quick note to the recap, Ian actually allowed his run, McHugh isn’t to blame.

  4. On the other hand, I am legitimately concerned about both Morton and Anderson. Anderson walked 4 men today and only struck out 1. He has been lucky.

  5. We’re exactly one-sixth thru the season now. Please let this be our worst such stretch (.444 baseball).

    FWIW, I’m less worried right now about the lineup than the #2 & #5 spots in the rotation. I, too, believe that Ozzie, Duvall and (probably) Dansby will end up doing what they usually do — agonizingly low OBPs with some game-wrecking production.

    FWIW, relative to the NL, we’re not that bad offensively. We are 1st in HRs, 5th in runs, 5th in BB, 3rd in SLG. However, we’re also 1st in Ks, 12th in Avg, 11th in OBP… 7th in OPS. (And yes, it was great to have a 7-run inning without any long balls.)

    The very quick/short list on pitching: 10th in NL ERA (4.08), 11th overall for the starters (4.71, ouch) and 5th overall for the relievers (3.20).

    Time for a winning streak.

  6. JonathanF, you have my full support (moral if not financial) to travel with the team. I would really enjoy your reporting from the road.

  7. On the team’s prospects going forward, they are 5th in the league in runs scored. And that’s with several regulars who are almost certainly going to produce at a better rate going forward than they have so far. The offense is going to be fine.

    The key to the rotation going forward is Morton. I think he will be a lot better, but if age has suddenly caught up with him, the rotation is not nearly as strong as I though it would be. But Wright certainly seems to be for real. And Varsity is an ace. It’s going to be a good race with the Mutts.

  8. It is funny how stats can change dramatically with a bad game or two this time of year. The Mets pitching staff dropped from 3rd to 6th and their team ERA increased from 2.96 to 3.21 after this game.

  9. Some more detailed analysis of the slow start

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/even-with-the-return-of-acuna-and-ozuna-the-braves-outfield-has-scuffled/

    The 2022 version of the Mets are different. If you asked me to name their line up, I’d get to Alonso and Lindor and then have to think for a bit. Less big names, more team – bit like the Giants model which has worked for them

    Will there be regression? Certainly. And you can pin this one partly on the manager for the Ottavino decision when he was obviously not at full tilt, but we’re some way off from IWOTM status that we know and love

  10. @11–thanks for this. I usually learn a lot from fangraphs that isn’t otherwise apparent. I’m this case they are telling us that our outfield has sucked so far. Not exactly a news flash.

    I did learn that Ozuna’s chase rate is way up. He’s hitting the ball hard when he swings at the right pitches, but he’s swinging at too many wrong pitches. Sounds like being more selective will solve most of the problem. Given his circumstances, it’s easy to believe he’s pressing. Hope he can get beyond that.

    Duvall is who he is; very low OBP but good occasional pop. As a center fielder, his bat can play.

    Ronald will be absolutely fine. I fully expect MVP type numbers starting pretty soon. Unfortunately, when he is the DH—as he apparently will be a good deal for a while—the OF defense is pretty awful.

    The big problem is left field. There are no obvious internal solutions. It’s hard to believe they will rush Waters or Harris. If either continues to tear it up through June, they could get a shot after the ASB. Even a moderately competent Rosario would make a world of difference. Have we heard any updates post-surgery?

  11. What a great interview! I love that he’s so thoughtful. I’m sure his early career struggles were related to his tendency to think so deeply, and occasionally struggle to get out of his own head. But that interview gives me greater confidence in his ability to do whatever it will take to make the most of his ability. And thank goodness Jethro and Varsity have him as their Yoda.

  12. Agree—Charlie is exactly the kind of pitcher who can figure out what the problem is and fix it. That’s one of the main reasons he’s been so successful into his late 30’s. And why I’m pretty confident he’ll turn this around.

    On the other hand, he is in his late 30’s. At some point he’s not going to be able to do what he has in the past. Let’s hope this is just a temporary setback and not the beginning of an age-related decline.

    In any event, what a wonderful mentor for the young guns.

  13. Phils, up 7-1 entering top of the 9th, give up 7 runs to the Mets, last 4 scoring with 2 outs.

  14. Correct if I’m wrong, but the Statcast data isn’t saying there’s anything wrong with Charlie physically, right? His velo is there, spin rate is there, right? So I think it’s fair to say that this is not the decline of an old man, at least not yet.

  15. @18–I think you’re right. It’s likely a small mechanical thing that has his command off, especially with the curveball. He’s not getting swings and misses because that pitch is not close enough to the zone. And he’s not getting the swings and misses on the 4 seamer if they are not as concerned about the curve.
    But you know, Morton, Kranitz, and lots of other folks with the team understand all that a lot better than I do. What was so great about the interview was how self-aware Charlie is. That is the key to identifying and correcting problems–in baseball and in life.

  16. After one…

    all you need to know to deem it unwatchable…

    defense/pitching/ ‘hitting’

    I’d much rather have that game they played last night when you go up by 7, late

    and then give it all back and lose…

    at least that would be some kind of fun.

    this is DRIECH

  17. Ozzie and his one pitch at bats for outs should be hitting 9th. Hitting for a low average and does nothing to make a pitcher work

  18. I follow their ineptitude…

    i before e except after c…

    DREICH

    example given, Scots… ‘ a cold, dreich early April day’.

    How very nearly spot on.

  19. mirabile dictu

    he ran the identical route..

    then said, better i catch this one

    Strider i can watch, happily…some hope of generative prowess one day.

    so still watching

    ‘i

  20. Matzek’s last four appearances (total innings: 2):

    5 BB
    3 H
    1 HBP

  21. Insect Overlords beat me to the punch, but Matzek has not been good recently.

  22. No sliders thrown in 20 pitches, and only 1 whiff on the fastball.
    Velocity isn’t where it was last year either.

    Taking out McHugh was a mistake, all he had was a walk on close pitches and an infield hit.

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