I fell asleep last night without writing my recap.  When I awoke this morning, I realized a recap had come to me in a dream. It was unlike anything I had written before, and I quickly began to write the lines while I still remembered them. Unfortunately, as I began to write the lines from my dream, I was interrupted, causing me to forget most of the lines.  What appears below is all that I can remember:

Acuña Can

Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.

In Miami-Dade did Loria

A stately pleasure dome decree,

Where Miami, the polluted river ran,

Through swamps measureless to man,

Down to Biscayne Bay.

And ’mid this tumult Acuña heard from far

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

   The shadow of the dome of pleasure

   Floated midway on the waves;

   Where was heard the mingled measure

   From the fountain and the caves.

And all who heard should see them there,

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

Weave a circle round him thrice,

And close your eyes with holy dread

For he on honey-dew hath fed,

And drunk the milk of Paradise.

That’s all I remember from my dream.  It was indeed very good to see Ronald’s flashing eyes and floating hair back in the LoanDepot Park Dome, the scene of his horrible knee injury last July.  I can readily believe that he hath fed on honey dew and drunk the milk of paradise. As he so often does, Ronald dominated the Fish, going 2-4 with a double, single, and a walk, a run scored, an rbi, and a stolen base.  He led off the game with a double that left the bat at 114 mph, and his single in the 4th was 107 mph.  Man, does he hit the ball hard.

What’s that you say?  You came here to learn the outcome of this poetic struggle?  The Braves managed to win this game 5-3, despite both a serious bout of Hibernation Mode from the offense and an Episode by Charlie Morton.

The Braves jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first.  Ozzie drove in Ronald with a sharp single to left, and Marcell crushed a two run shot to left to make it 3-0 (his third homer in 3 games).  According to the announcers, that was the first time the Braves had scored 3 runs in the first all season (and who am I to question them?).  Dansby had a solo homer in the second, and d’Arnaud knocked his own long solo shot to left in the third.  All three dingers were crushed.  It was 5-1 after three innings, and the Braves already had six extra base hits.

So our guys are cruising, right?  Chip and the crew were waxing eloquent about how the offense is back, how great it is to see the bats wake up, Frenchy and BJ were praising the new approach they had detected.  All that happy talk and acting like the Braves were in a commanding position was making me very nervous.  Did they not remember Wednesday’s game—the most recent game they played?  The Bravos had a 4 run lead in the 4thof that one, with our ace on the mound.  I think you know how that came out.

Sure enough, this is when the bats decided to hibernate.  The rest of the way they only had three more hits and never scored again.  For a while, that didn’t seem to be a problem.  Morton was pitching great.  He surrendered a single run in the second, but through 5 innings it was still 5-1.  In fact, he retired them on 7 pitches in the 5th, and Chip was talking about how great it would be for Charlie to go at least 7 innings and give the bullpen some rest. 

So Charlie chooses the 6th inning to have an Episode.  Everything he tossed their way was crushed.  He surrendered a leadoff single followed by a mammoth shot to left by Soler; all of a sudden it’s 5-3.  After getting the first out of the inning, he allowed a single by Anderson and a double by Sanchez, so the tying runners are in scoring position with only one out. Morton’s problems may be attributable to the fact that he was struck in the leg by a wicked liner in the 4th (sound familiar?); at least, Paul Byrd seemed to think so.  It could have been third time through the order syndrome.  I prefer to simply acknowledge the presence of an Episode.  The occasional occurrence of an Episode is a mystery that we cannot fathom. 

Snit finally realized that this Episode wasn’t going to cure itself, and he called on Colin McHugh.  Colin proved that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  De la Cruz hit a liner heading to left field but Ozzie made a leaping grab to rob him of a game tying scoring single.  Stallings followed with a deep fly to left that Ozuna caught against the wall.  I was certain when he hit it that the Marlins had just taken the lead.  Chip immediately exclaimed “Colin McHuge!!” and raved about what a great job he had done.  Look, I’m a big fan of McHugh, and I shared Chip’s relief at the outcome, but I suspect that both balls had a very high hit percentage—they just went to the right spots on the field. That’s baseball.  Lord knows we’ve seen enough bloops and bleeders fall in against us.  I’ll take this.

The pen held them scoreless the rest of the way, but not without more drama.  Strider allowed a single and double in the 7th, but managed to get out of it.  Minter pitched around a double in the 8th, and Smith hit the leadoff batter in the 9th, but retired the next 3 for the Save, and a Win for Morton.

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A couple of comments about Chip, Frenchy, and BJ:

The guys in the booth had been talking about the importance of having big innings, about putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard.  Ronald leads off the game with a double into the left field corner. Olson followed with squibber to short that advanced Ronnie to third. So they all praise Olson’s “productive out” in getting the runner over.  Ozzie followed with a run scoring single.  ABC Baseball! Get em on, get em over, get em in!

But you know what? Getting  Acuña to third with the “productive out” did not contribute to the run scoring; Ronald would have scored from second on Ozzie’s hit.  I appreciate the crew’s desire for a big inning.  But outs, even productive ones, are not conducive to big innings.  To score multiple runs, it’s better to minimize your outs.

After Riley struck out, Marcell hit a screamer over the left field wall for a 3 run lead.  He got himself on, over, and in, all in one swing.

I shouldn’t belabor the point, but in the 4th or 5th inning, BJ was still crediting the offensive explosion of the early innings to ABC baseball and Olson’s getting the runner to third.

There was a funny exchange between Francouer and Jordan about Demeritte.  I’ve been listening to Jordan a good deal lately.  He’s insistent that the Braves hitters need to be more aggressive.  BJ loves to say “see ball, hit ball”; don’t worry about mechanics. Demeritte took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch.  Frenchy complained it was inside, which it clearly was.  BJ insisted it was too close to take, and said to Frenchy, “You know you’d have been coming out of your shoes to hit that.”  Jeff replied “I never would have gotten to 3-2.”

I’ve enjoyed the way Francouer is self-aware and self-deprecating about his own inability to be patient and lay off pitches out of the zone.  Both Frenchy and BJ are very affable and likable.  I especially like the way Jordan pronounces “slider.”

 *   *   *

By winning the Braves have extended their all time record season opening streak of no three game streaks (either winning or losing) to at least 40 games.  If you don’t understand that sentence, please see JonathanF’s last post.

Now that we have that record, I’d be happy to break that streak by sweeping the Fish this weekend.  Kyle Wright takes the hill at 6:00 today to further that effort.