The Formerly Streakless But Now Streaking Braves Make it Nine in a Row: Hammers 4, Bucs 2

The team that 10 days ago couldn’t win three games in a row just won its ninth straight, in a 4-2 victory over the Pirates.  The Braves jumped to a four run lead, Spencer Strider went 5 and 2/3 scoreless innings, Jackson Turner (who was not as hot as a pepper sprout) gave up two runs in the 8th, but Minter and Jansen closed it out for the victory.

For the second Friday in a row I went out to dinner and missed the broadcast of the Braves game.  Who knew I’d have such a social life when I agreed to do Friday recaps?  And what is this old guy doing out on the town past 10:30?  Well, the events were with my family, including my granddaughters, and I’m in California, so I was only out until 7:30.  I got in my car just as the game was over.  But from what I can tell, this one followed the “boring” formula from the night before: jump to an early lead, count on the starting pitcher to hold them in check, and let the league’s best bullpen finish them off.  If this is boring, I’ll be happy to be bored the rest of the season.

Even though I didn’t watch the game, I’m allowed to have opinions.  Here are a few of them:

Ronald Acuña, Jr., is the most exciting, and for my money, the best player in the league.  He had two more hits—a double off the wall and a grounder to short that he beat out for a single.  With him in the lineup, this team is as good as any team in the league, including the Dodgers.  (I’m in LA for the month; everyone here wears a Dodgers cap, which come in many colors beyond Dodger Blue.  I’ve been wearing my vintage 1974 Braves cap; I assume no one here even knows what it is.)

Dansby Swanson is in the midst of one of those hot streaks that make him look like an elite shortstop.  He went 3 for 4, including a two run homer that started the scoring in the third inning. As you know, he is a free agent at the end of this season.  I had been thinking AA should try to sign one of the elite free agents who will be available this offseason—Turner, Correa, Bogaerts (possibly).  But I’m coming around to the idea that Dansby is not much below that level, and if we can lock him up before he hits free agency, he’s a guy you can be happy to have for several more years.  I really like his defense, his baserunning, and his work ethic.  If his bat can be what it’s been for the last six weeks for the next several years, he’s easily the best shortstop in Atlanta history.  But of course he could turn around and be the guy we saw in April this year, who looked more like Pat Rockett or Craig Robinson than Jeff Blauser or Rafael Furcal.  We already have Albies, Olson, and Riley under control (BTW, let’s extend Austin while we’re at it), and with Swanson they could have an elite infield for a long time to come.

Speaking of elite, Michael Harris II is for real and he is here to stay.  He is the youngest player in MLB right now and as you know he has barely played above A ball, so we know there will be growing pains and adjustments ahead. I’m still surprised they called him up this early, but he is a star in the making.  He went 2 for 3 with a double walk and scored two runs.  It’s pretty exciting to see him on base in front of Ronald. 

Spencer Strider will also have growing pains and adjustments to make, but so far you’ve got to love what he is doing.  In his third start, he went 5 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out 8 and walked only one.  He threw 66 strikes in 92 pitches.  They made the right call in plugging him into the rotation.  That is where he can provide the most value (and the other guys they tried were clearly not ready).

A nine game winning streak tends to generate irrational exuberance.  When it was going bad, I’m the guy who kept reminding everyone that it’s a long season, and things can always turn around.  I need to follow my own counsel and realize that there are many twists and turns ahead.  Still, this team is finally playing as it is capable.  When they do that, they are as good as anyone. 

I know the opposition the last ten days has been bottom feeders (aren’t you glad you’re not a Pirates or A’s fan?).  The teams the next ten days aren’t any better.  The Braves are 9 for 9 in June so far.  Why not win about 10 of the next 12 before the Dodgers and a certain first baseman hit town toward the end of the month? 

But the wise ones know you can only win one at a time.  The Braves go for ten straight on Saturday behind Charlie Morton.  I think Morton can still pitch, but Charlie (you ever notice how Peter Moylan and Brian Jordan both pronounce his name “Chollie”) needs to start showing he’s still got it.  No time like the present to turn it around.

Author: tfloyd

Tfloyd was born on the site of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Before the stadium was built, that is; it was then the site of Piedmont Hospital. It took the Braves another 11 years to arrive on what is now Hank Aaron Drive, but I‘ve always liked to arrive at the ballpark early.

16 thoughts on “The Formerly Streakless But Now Streaking Braves Make it Nine in a Row: Hammers 4, Bucs 2”

  1. Dansby hits the .800 OPS mark and Harris is .298/.774. Along with Acuna, they make this team very dynamic. They had 7 of the Braves’ 10 hits tonight. This is incredible. Any contributions from anyone else look like gravy.

    The team is making this look so easy it’s scary. I know they’ll lose more games but it’s hard to see how right now.

    I don’t really think Muller, Davidson, and Elder are chopped liver and we’ll need one of them to step up next year assuming Charlie retires. You don’t win 9+ games in a row without five strong starters. If Ozzie and Duvall step it up there will be no holes in this lineup. What’s more impressive is that as Contreras, Harris, and Strider shine, the team continues to get younger. I hope we’re in for another 90’s style long run.

  2. Thank you, tfloyd. Hope California treats you right. Macon is, right now, to quote Roosevelt of the artillery as quoted by Adrian Cronauer as portrayed by Robin Williams, “hot, damn hot.”

  3. Jonathan, can you verify? This is an incredible stat.

  4. You’re never as good as you look when you’re winning or as bad as you look when you’re losing, but that’s the way to get along on sports blogs.

  5. Hopefully Strider will continue his great work, but to me the question of whether he has more potential value as a starter or reliever has been put to bed. His pitching has been a big part of this streak.

  6. If Soroka comes back as even a shell of his former self, what do we do?

    When Rosario comes back, what do we do with six outfielders?

    Nice problems to have…

  7. Those problems as you say are good problems and they have a way to work themselves out. Ozuna may hit the IL with a case of suck.

  8. Thanks, Cliff. I certainly can’t complain about the weather in So Cal. Some say it’s boring in its sameness day to day, but in the same way a nine game win streak is boring.

  9. Even if no injuries happen and Soroka makes it all the way back and needs to be entered into the rotation, the obvious solution there is a six-man rotation. In a playoff scenario, Strider would go back to the bullpen.

    On the potential Rosario crunch, you can platoon Rosario and Duvall or something.

  10. It’ll be interesting to see how Harris is handling the bat come July 1st.

    If it’s as marvelous as of late – – to @7 above, the roster challenges might be a bit more complex.

    But as @8 says – – good problems to have. 9 wins in a row & we still don’t have all the pieces in place yet.

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