Braves 10, Pirates 4 (by Braves14)

Another sellout crowd got to witness an 8 run 7th inning as the Braves came from behind to win their 10th consecutive game.

The Pirates jumped out 2-0 on 2 solo homers in the top of the 1st by Bryan Reynolds and Daniel Vogelbach. The Braves answered with 2 solo shots of their own in the bottom of the 1st by Acuna and Riley.

After that, both pitchers settled down. Charlie Morton didn’t allow much of anything from the 2nd inning through the 4th, and for the start he struck out 12 men while only walking 1. But in the top of the 5th, he hit the backup catcher Heinemen with a back foot slider on a 2 strike count (something it seems like he has done a lot this season). After striking out the next 2 men, consecutive doubles from Reynolds and KeBryan Hayes put the Pirates back in front 4-2.

My eyes tell me that Morton’s velocity is just fine. It looks about the same from last year. But, his breaking ball (his curveball in particular) has been very inconsistent, when in the last few years his curveball had been among the best in MLB. I don’t know if this is because of the crackdown on sticky stuff, or if it is a mechanical flaw. But I think the decline of his curveball has been a big reason for his struggles this year. Morton did get a bunch of whiffs today, so hopefully he isn’t far away from figuring this out.

The score remained 4-2 until the bottom of the 7th, when the Braves exploded. Ozuna led off with a double, then Wild Bill walked. Duvall grounded into what was a double play, but an egregiously bad call at first base was overturned by review. With runners on the corners and 1 out, Harris singled up the middle to score Ozuna to cut the lead to 4-3, then Acuna got hit on the elbow guard to load the bases. Dansby then blooped a single into right field by the line, scoring 2 runs, and Acuna ran through a stop sign by Wash and somehow scored standing up from first base, giving the Braves a 6-4 lead. Riley singled to right against the shift, advancing Dansby from first to third. Riley then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Still only with 1 out, the Pirates intentionally walked Olson to reload the bases, hoping for a double play from Ozzie. However, after a long AB, Ozzie crushed a fastball that missed its location over the right center field wall for a grand slam making the score 10-4, and the crowd went into a frenzy.

Jesse Chavez and Jesus Cruz finished out the game uneventfully. The Braves moved within 6 games of the Mets, and are now up into the 2nd Wild Card position. Kyle Wright pitches against Jose Quintana tomorrow as the Braves try to complete another 4 game sweep tomorrow afternoon.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

41 thoughts on “Braves 10, Pirates 4 (by Braves14)”

  1. Nice job. I am of course tempting fate by asking this question with one game to go in the series, but how did these guys sweep the Dodgers?

  2. Six games down before the middle of June is perfectly reasonable. I admit to being kind of anxious about being ten games down at one point.

  3. I genuinely love Ozzie. But he hasn’t walked in about two weeks. His last walk was on Monday, May 30; he has walked 13 times, which is just about once a week. His OBP is under .300 for a reason. His current 5.2% walk rate is on pace for the second-worst of his career, behind only the dreadful 4.0% rate he posted in just 29 games in 2020.

    For what it’s worth, he’s also cut his strikeout rate quite a bit compared to last year, but his walk rate has proportionally regressed to a greater degree.

    All in all, his plate approach is pretty terrible right now. (Just to pick one stat for example, he’s swinging at 45% of pitches outside the zone; the MLB average is 32%.)

    He’s still an above-average player, because he plays good defense and and is a good baserunner, but he’s a mediocre hitter at a position where the average hitter is also mediocre.

    The interesting thing is that the Ozzie Albies who tore through the minor leagues was a very different hitter. I don’t know how much we’ve talked about this, but he was REALLY different.

    MiLB: .304/.365/.424, 8.3% BB%, 15.2% K%, .121 ISO
    MLB: .271/.322/.470, 6.5% BB%, 17.3% K%, .199 ISO

    In the majors, Ozzie sold out for power like it was going out of style. Rafael Furcal did the same thing, actually, and he got into the exact same exasperating funks where he swung from his shoetops on every pitch, hit a homer about every fortnight, and grounded out to second base the rest of the time. Whether the coaches told them to sacrifice OBP for SLG or whether he made the decision on his own, it ultimately made them into less effective hitters.

    I don’t expect Ozzie to turn into someone he’s not. But the Ozzie Albies who posted a walk rate of 6.9% in 2021, and 7.7% in 2019, was a vastly more effective batter than the one we’ve seen so far in 2022. I hope he can work on a more intelligent approach at the plate, because he’s a critical part of this offense, and we are going to need him to pick up the team as the dog days wear on. Until today, he hadn’t been a big part of the attack. Unless he improves his approach, he won’t be.

  4. @3–You are absolutely right about Ozzie’s approach. It drives me crazy, because I also love the guy. His personality, his attitude, his humor, all make watching the game fun. And he is a hell of an athlete.

    But his approach sucks, and as a result he is wasting his vast talent. His hands and strength and ability to put the bat on the ball are elite. So long as he continues to swing at so may bad pitches, however, he will never reach his potential as an offensive force. He makes far too much weak contact, and with a walk rate this low, his OBP will rarely exceed .300. That can kill an offense.

    I don’t think the coaching staff is to blame. In an interview with DOB last year, Ron Washington said: “Ozzie’s still got a lot to learn offensively; if he wasn’t so quick to try to hit every goddamn thing he sees, just think how special he would be offensively.” This was in an article in which Wash sung Ozzie’s praises for his work ethic, his resilience, and his talent.

    As exciting as today’s slam was, I worry that he will learn the wrong lesson from that, and continue in his free swinging ways. Perhaps Ronald, who has an excellent approach, can get to him.

  5. When Ozzie first came up he got several homers that barely cleared the fence. I think he changed his approach based on that success – or maybe he’s been listening to Brian Jordan about being aggressive (-: . Whatever the case, I think he’ll get better. The guy has a .792 OPS over 620 games. Incredibly he’s only 25 but I don’t think he’ll ever do better than 2019 when he had an .852 OPS unless he gets a lot more patient at the plate. Unfortunately as pointed out, he seems to be headed in the opposite direction.

  6. The Braves fifth starter is one of the best. Should Morton improve it will give the Braves an excellent starting five. And great help may be on the way. More depth in the pen will be important.
    Some struggling hitters getting their act together would help.

  7. Just looked up the longest winning streak in team history. 15 games in 2000. Odd, I don’t remember that. With the schedule we can set a new one.

  8. Go Halos, we’re fixin’ to be 5.5 games out.

    Went to Cubs/Yanks tonight… Andrelton made a couple of superb plays, but… he’s still hitting .163.

    The NY Rangers lost & I had Mo Donegal in the Belmont Stakes… so a terrific sports night overall.

    Let’s pick up another game tomorrow.

  9. I’ve thought Ozzie was similar to Furcal in that way before, but I think Ozzie has sold out for power even more than Furcal did. Furcal was able to keep his OBP up enough to keep being the leadoff hitter during his Braves tenure, but never hit more than 15 homers in a season.

  10. Happy to hear about your Truist Park experience the other day, Ryan. Good for you!
    Watching the recap only, Mortons curve looked dominante. 12K are encouraging as well. Man, we are so fortunate to have RAJ on our team. Let’s make it 11.

  11. Ten in a row in good
    However, the Phillies are at nine themselves
    The Marlins are at five
    The gap to Mets has narrowed but not expanded to those chasing behind
    At least the Brewers are having a slump to help out overall
    It’s still a long way to October

  12. @7 – wasn’t that streak the first 15 games of the season? I seem to remember a lot of comparisons to 1982 (throughout the year, actually, which became less of a good thing as the season progressed).

  13. 13 — No, they started 13-0 in 1982. The 15 game streak was in 2000. I remember it, that team was rather average outside of that win streak.

  14. I remember the streak in 2000. Since I didn’t have the new internet thing in my London flat, i always checked the tele text (was that a thing in the US?) during the streak. My French flatmate thought I was strange to get excited about anything on tele text.

  15. Seems like moving Duvall out of center has helped him.

    (That, or we have seen last year’s ball return)

  16. @21
    Maybe the end of his arbitration process helped him mentally, even if he lost it .

  17. Byrd just said the whole division has won 27 straight games. Didn’t the Mets lose last night?

    22 — Possible.

  18. 23 — Apparently their source was Nightengale, who is never a good source. (He tweeted it and all his replies are like wtf)

  19. Wright keeps impressing. Pitching the sixth was important. Goes from negative to positive. Good on him.

  20. Wright with another solid game. Poor Sean Newcomb allowed 6R in an inning against the Yankees today. I am so happy for Wright how he’s turned it around.

  21. This rotation is more capable of long winning streaks than any we’ve had since the end of the Streak.

    Or to put it differently, the last rotation we had that was this deep had Smoltzy in it.

  22. Yes, the consistent starting pitching does remind me of the workmanlike 90’s teams.

    I also didn’t realise that Soroka is only 24. Getting him back into this rotation by years end would make this group tough to beat. Fried, Wright, Soroka and Anderson is a formidable top 4 going forward.

  23. @30 Soroka being a successful pitcher by the end of the year seems much less likely to me than Strider sustaining success, even if not quite to this level. Fried, Wright, Strider, and Anderson is also a formidable top 4.

  24. @31 Crazy to be putting Ian as the 4th-best SP of that group, but it’s true.

  25. I did a random deep dive on Strider today, based partially on how he kind of came out of nowhere. The most recent prospecting on Strider listed on Fangraphs has his fastball rated a 50, future 55. I think to myself, nobody is that incompetent; if Strider’s FB is a 55, nobody in the majors has a 65.

    But I look at his listed velocity, and they have him at sitting 91-95, touching 97. Hard stats are that his average fastball in the majors this year is 98.3 mph. Turns out if you add 5 mph to your average fastball, you get better!

  26. Someone’s got to say it. After 61 games last year we were …….. 5.5 games back. And below .500. We are in this.

  27. @31 I’ll defer to you on Strider. His sample size is too small for me to be confident projecting his level going forward. But I certainly like what I’ve read and heard so far.

    True, getting anything out of Soroka this season is found money. It’s more likely next season that he returns for good, touch wood. But I’m still holding out some hope he rounds into form come September.

  28. Also, random name I just saw. Manny Banuelos is pitching for the Yankees now. He got the save today. That’s dedication, after pitching for us in 2015, White Sox in 2019 and now the Yanks. Good for him.

  29. @36 just to be super clear, I agree with you on Strider being new to the big leagues; I would not describe myself as confident he’ll keep up something in this vicinity. I’m just even more worried about Soroka.

  30. Soroka did an interview on DOB’s podcast. He sounded confident as hell and ready to put this chapter behind him. I believe in him, but the Braves need to take it really slow. Maybe even tell him to not go 100% if he has to run to cover 1B.

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