Braves 3, A’s 2

These games are so satisfying. There wasn’t a great offensive showing by the majority of the team (non-Acuna hitters, at least), but this is what good teams do: do enough to pile up wins against beat bad teams.

The first star of the show tonight was Ronald Acuna. He hit lead off home runs in the 1st and 3rd. He’s been a little light on home run power this year, so it’s nice to see him erupt. After averaging a home run every 15 ABs last year and 16.8 for his career, he had hit a home run every 40 ABs coming into tonight. This is obviously a step in the right direction.

The other star was Kyle Wright. He pitched eight innings, giving up 2, striking out 7, and not walking a soul. This was his first time completing 8 innings in his major league career; in fact, it’s the first time even seeing the 8th inning. He looked great, locating with great command, and his fastball looked great. The guy is turning a corner.

Michael Harris, though quiet at the plate, provided another great catch that may not make it into the highlights. He’s routinely getting great jobs on balls and catching balls with low catch probability with ease.

Kenley Jansen had an effortless 9th, giving up two weak outs and a strikeout. I don’t think we’re getting the peak of Kenley’s career, but he’s a closer, and every team needs a closer.

The downside of the night was Austin Riley getting the ole Golden Sombero, four strikeouts in one game.

Ian Anderson on the bump tomorrow against some guy for Oakland named Jared Koenig.

55 thoughts on “Braves 3, A’s 2”

  1. Thanks, Rob. Your recap is as admirably efficient as Wright’s performance. Game time of 2 hours 20 minutes has already earned the adjective “Madduxesque” from several quarters. Wright really has been terrific: he’s commanding all his pitches, and unlike earlier seasons he doesn’t let trouble get to him. Cool as a cucumber.

    Speaking of Maddux, on this date in 1996 he started against Colorado. He only managed 3 and a third innings, surrendering 11 hits and 7 runs. His ERA on the season ballooned to 3.41, which was more than double his ERA in either of the two previous seasons. I imagine blog commenters were questioning whether he still had it and whether the Braves ought to be looking for more starting pitching. Although Maddux never had a season ERA under 2.00 again, he did finish ’96 with an ERA of 2.72, and followed that with ERA’s of 2.20 and 2.22 in 1997 and 1998. For the seven seasons 1992-98, his ERA+ was 166, 170, 271, 260, 162, 189, 187. That’s not relevant to anything tonight; it’s just that the mention of Maddux got me looking at his stats again.

  2. I did a deep dive on that stretch of Maddux awhile ago, and it has a case for the greatest consecutive seven seasons by any pitcher ever, and it can’t be worse than third.

  3. (the other two are Pedro 1997-2003 and if I remember correctly, Walter Johnson’s best 7 stretch)

  4. Chipwatch: When Harris made his fine running catch in the gap, Chip called it like this: “Harris on the run, lays out and makes the catch!”

    Lays out? What dive?

  5. It’s always good to be reminded of how dominant Maddux was.

    I remember getting into a few bar arguments over who was better, Pedro vs Maddux. There probably isn’t a right answer, hence no-one felt the need to backdown from their positions. They were fun times. I’m not sure who you’d have big arguments over these days. Kershaw vs Verlander maybe?

  6. The really amazing thing is that Wright gave up his two runs on three consecutive singles (sandwiched around a wild pitch) to the first three batters.

    Then he got a popout and a double play and allowed two more batters to reach safely the rest of the game, both singles – one in the second, one in the fourth. He got seven strikeouts and didn’t walk anybody. A couple balls were hit hard, but they were caught, and there was just no Oakland momentum ever again as he took absolute command of the game. That mental control is the most important thing, and he’s spoken about it. The Kyle Wright we’ve seen in previous years didn’t have the confidence to do what he’s done all year this year: compartmentalize any bad outcome and focus on beating the next guy.

    This dude is the whole package, and he’s looking like an All-Star.

  7. @6 it’s really good to remember the ordering here. gives up 2 runs in first three batters, then locks down the rest of the game.

  8. Alonso gets plunked and has to leave game. Mets starting to Met?

    Phillies stayed hot. Hader hasn’t given up a regular season run since last July (which only makes me remember FF5’s homer last October). But Bohm hits an absolute BOMB off him in the 9th, then Vierling homers to give them the lead. NL East is heating up.

  9. As I watched the 1st inning my thought on Wright was there is no possible way for him to be so unlucky the rest of the game. When he started dealing after the 3 singles, I said he was going to have a really good game. He managed to exceed those expectations.

  10. Everything they told us about Pache is either as true or more true about Michael Harris. C’mon, man, just get us a .700 OPS.

  11. Hey Braves Journalers, looking for an extra ticket for tonight’s game to get a #Braves fan a replica ring. Hes on a hard road, medically & mentally, with an Autism diagnosis and has recently been diagnosed with a disease similar to Parkinson’s (can’t recall the name).

    I will only use it to get this man a replica ring. If anyone isn’t going to utilize one, please let me know. I’d give him mine but I’m giving to my dad.

    Edit: Just got an extra ticket for the game from a friend so I’ll be getting him that replica ring. If anyone wants to help out, I’m also going to send him a Braves memorabilia care package. If you’ve got extras of something or have something that’s just collecting dust, let me know via email and I’ll send you my mailing address then I’ll ship it all at once.

  12. Greg Maddux was the reason I learned how to use my old VCR to its fullest extent. If I couldn’t watch it live, I taped almost every Braves game he pitched.

    In his prime, he was an absolute wonder. Thanks, TBS.

  13. @11, you’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

    Agreed, @10. Harris is a DUDE. I am okay with the growing pains on offense because when I’ve seen him at the plate, he doesn’t look like he feels unconfident and overmatched, which was exactly the body language that Pache exuded.

    It’s hard league but Harris is a superb athlete, which means he has a lot of physical ability to learn to make adjustments and repeat them, and his makeup is clearly excellent. As long as he maintains his confidence, I feel good about him figuring it out. And there’s utterly no question about his value to the big league club. That guy can pick it.

  14. Delino DeShields stat line at Gwinnett:


    That is an unusual line. Not sure if I’ve ever seen an OBP above .400 with a slugging percentage under .300.

  15. @15 And none since 1961. There’s no reason to throw someone a ball if you know they can’t hurt you with a strike.

  16. 15 — With the most recent being 1961.

    16 — Jinx. And yes, that’s precisely the reason why he isn’t a big leaguer.

  17. @10 Is that 3 outs above average in 10 games? There’s obviously small sample size going on here, but that’s outliery enough that I think we can take that as evidence that he is at least an excellent defensive CF.
    I dunno if Harris sees Gwinnett again…

  18. Just to follow up, to be clear, over a full year that’s 50 OAA. Regress that 80% back to the mean, and you still have 10 OAA, which would’ve been top 5 in MLB last year.

  19. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the improved outfield defense has been at the same time as this win streak.

  20. Poor AB by Contreras with a runner on 3rd and 1 out. Struck out on 3 curveballs out of the zone.

  21. I’m usually okay with Brian Jordan but he’s driving me crazy with the constant calls for hitters to be aggressive. Sometimes it’s also good for hitters to wait for strikes.

  22. Why does Chip pronounce “Andrus” exactly the same as “Andrews?” No pronunciation guide I’ve been able to find does that. The first syllable is definitely “Ahn”, not “An” though I admit that the fact that second syllable is unstressed leaves some room for doubt about how “oo-ish” to make the second syllable… but of course “Andrews” is much closer to a secondary stress on the second syllable that the more Spanish pronunciation.

    More to the point: why do I let everything this man says annoy me?

  23. Love it when Brian Jordan gets excited.

    Harris needed that big hit – – man, gonna add a lot to his confidence at the plate.

  24. 33 — I’ve noticed that Chip “anglicizes” pretty much every foreign pronunciation. Remember Annabelle Sanchez?

  25. I honestly cannot believe Riley’s transformation over the last couple of years.

  26. @36: lol. It’s the opposite of when PA annnouncers used to announce plate appearances of Keith Ehrnandess.

  27. That Michael Harris guy is gonna be good. .275/.718 is just fine by me. As soon as he pops a HR, he’ll be ready to rocket.

  28. This is much more like it. I’m enjoying the team waking up and beating these rubbish teams like they should.

  29. Since the greatest music gathering in the world is just around the corner, a little topical tunesday

  30. Riley is on a 5-WAR pace again. I think AA should really try hard to lock him and Fried up.

  31. Michael Harris is also on a 5-WAR pace over 162 as well: 5.8, to be exact.

    In other news, the ball seems to be flying out again. Ozzie’s home run was a joke.

  32. @49 CBS Sports just posted an article about the sudden return of home runs to the MLB.

    The league home run rate is always at its highest in the hot summer months, though this season’s home run rate increase is … unusual. Unusual in that it happened all at once. The home run rate was flat the first five weeks of the season, then it jumped in the sixth week.

    April 11-17 0.94 10.0%
    April 18-24 0.81 9.2%
    April 25 to May 1 0.97 10.3%
    May 2-8 0.97 10.1%
    May 9-15 1.15 11.9%
    May 16-22 1.09 11.6%
    May 23-29 1.14 11.8%
    May 30 to June 5 1.21 12.4%

    Maybe major league players got 20% better at hitting home runs starting on May 9th – but the data strongly suggests the ball changed right around that time. That definitely helps guys like Ozzie who don’t have light-tower power.

  33. @52

    Coinciding with exactly with when the weather started warming up. I mean, MLB hasn’t earned any benefit of the doubt on this, because there’s no doubt the ball changes some from time-to-time, but sometimes I think that anytime a ball dies on the warning track, it’s like “Those bastards changed the ball!” And then the next day, when a ball carries out that didn’t look like it would, it’s like “Well, they changed it back.” I mean, everyone was still complaining about how the ball wasn’t carrying for much of the period where that article is claiming that the ball was carrying. I really think the weather is and always was the biggest factor.

  34. @53 Home run rates always start out low early in the season and increase with the warming weather – but not like the jump the week of May 9 this year. As that linked article shows, the HR/flyball trend this year is not likely to be explained simply by warming weather. There’s something(s) else going on, including but not necessarily limited to a change in the baseballs used.

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