The Braves once again made outstanding use of the Gwinnett Stripers rotation today, pulling a great start from Bryce Elder and coming back from a run down in the ninth for a 3-1 win.
Elder capped off a weekend of cribbing the Gwinnett rotation for spot starts that seemed like a bit of a shaky proposition when they announced it but looks like a genius move now that it worked. The receipts line up as such: Kyle Muller â€“ 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 73 pitches; Ian Anderson (who yes, is technically a AAA pitcher right now) â€“ 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 101 pitches; and todayâ€™s start from Elder, the best of the bunch â€“ 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 10 K, 104 pitches. And three wins in those three games. And now the A team is lined up for the Mets series: Strider on Monday, Morton Tuesday, Odirizzi Wednesday (YMMV on whether heâ€™s a part of the A team) and TBD Thursday, which is clearly being held open for Fried if heâ€™s completed his recovery by then.
Despite the fantastic start by Elder, it looked for a long while as though the Braves were going to manage to lose this game 1-0. The visitors had baserunners all over the place while Elder held the Marlins in check, but the Braves got nothing over the first eight innings and left 13 men on base. Meanwhile, the Marlins got a double and a single in the fourth and took a 1-0 lead into the final frame.
The Braves turned the game on its head in the ninth, though. Michael Harris tied the game on the first pitch he saw, launching a long ball over the left-center field wall. Dansby singled and Vaughn Grissom walked to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Austin Riley flew out and Dansby took off too early on a ball that hit the catcherâ€™s foot rather than trickling to the backstop and got caught in a rundown, making it seem like Atlanta was not destined to take the lead in this inning. However, Matt Olson walked to put the go-ahead run back in scoring position and William Contreras followed with a slow-roller up the middle. Marlins second baseman John Berti was able to dive and get to it, but Grissom was rounding third and heading home by that time, and the throw to the plate was lateâ€¦2-1 Atlanta. As JonathanF pointed out in the game thread, they had Matt Olson dead to rights at third base on this play if theyâ€™d been willing to concede the run. That turned out to be a potentially big deal as Olson scored an insurance run on a wild pitch.
Kenley Jansen picked up his third save in as many days (and in the last four games), meaning heâ€™s probably out of commission for the opener against the Mets. Speaking of the Mets, the Braves will enter that four-game series 5 1/2 games back of New York, meaning if they manage to take three of four, theyâ€™ll have shrunk the deficit to a much more manageable 3 1/2 games. Weâ€™ve also gained some ground in the wild card race with these six straight wins, opening up a 7 1/2 game lead for the final playoff spot and a 5 1/2 game lead for the No. 1 wild card spot.
The Will Smith epitaph I promised but forgot about last week (and even if Iâ€™d remembered, I very well might have elected to postpone given last weekâ€™s bloodbath)
Seldom, possibly if ever, do I remember a guy who was more important to his team winning a championship who his teamâ€™s fans hated so much. Honestly, it was kind of an impressive thing to behold. The man did not allow a run in 11 innings of postseason baseball last year, compiling a WHIP under 1.00. If you go by cWPA, he and Matzek came close to sharing the most valuable reliever moniker in the Division Series (Matzek had a very slight edge), he and A.J. Minter shared second place in the LCS with only Matzek more valuable, and only Luke Jackson pipped him in the World Series (Smith was actually considerably more valuable than Matzek in that series). Do the Braves win the World Series last year without Will Smith? While heâ€™s not up there in the Matzek/Jorge Soler/Eddie Rosario stratosphere on this question, heâ€™s pretty high up there. After all, if he blows a save somewhere in there, that could mean a loss and a loss means that weâ€™re in a winner-take-all game in one of these series (and thatâ€™s assuming everything else is the same).
So it was a point of some consternation to me that, virtually with the first baserunner he allowed this year, everybody immediately turned on him like all of that hadnâ€™t happened. Look, was he good this year? No. Would I have pulled the trigger on the trade for Odirizzi in a â€œletâ€™s try a swap of potential change-of-scenery guys?â€ Yes. But I do wish that there was a little more respect for this major pillar of our first World Series title in a generation. By all accounts, he was a good clubhouse guy as wellâ€¦despite Robâ€™s protestations that he seemed like a douche (Hi Rob!).
So farewell, Will! Youâ€™re certainly welcome back for the reunions. And hopefully by then, folks will have forgotten how annoying it was to watch you during the regular season and just focus on one of the best postseasons by a relief pitcher in franchise history.
I was never a Will Smith fan from the start, but the dude was money in the playoffs last year and that will never be forgotten. His dominance was completely unexpected and we probably donâ€™t have the flag without him. Best wishes to him unless he pitches against us, in which case I hope he does what he has done this year.
Letâ€™s get 3 out of 4 and really make this thing interesting.
I’ll always root for Will Smith wherever he goes.
Great write up on Smith. He also had a good final 6 weeks last year if I remember correctly. I don’t think Grissom’s start is sustainable but he had some of the best at bats I’ve seen by anyone all year. Where would we be this year without supposedly one of the worst farm systems in baseball? Strider, Harris, and Grissom have been nothing short of amazing. As noted, without our AAA rotation this week, we would at the very least be set up poorly for the Mets series. Great job guys!
Thanks, Nick. I think I tried to be fair to Will Smith, but when you’re writing up regular season games it’s hard not to take notice when someone turns in a string of awful performances. As I said back on May 26th: “Hancock can still ride on his performance in the postseason with me, but if he’s going to have to depend on everyone else to drag his ass to the postseason, we’re all going to get a little testy.” And I think that’s the way I still feel, but the testiness is now gone!
Thanks for the Hancock farewell, Nick. Nothing to add and I am sharing the feeling towards him what you and 1-3 wrote. All the best to you, Will!
Grissoms 9 (10?) pitch walk in the 9th was huge. And how about HarrisII? The organization has done an incredible job with the prospects.
And our boy Tucker had a good start last night: 6IP 4H 2R 1BB 3K. Good for him.
Gotta love this.
I will do my research and come back guns blazinâ€™.
That Harris interview is unbelievably charming.
Also, Will was very gracious about the signing of Kenley Jansen for the closer role (at least publicly.)
As you rip me to shreds, do keep in mind that I had playful, non-antagonistic aims… heh.
Inexplicable Post-Season Dept.: Will Smith’s 2021 post-season reminds me a bit of David Weathers/Graeme Lloyd in the 1996 post-season.
After completely uninspiring regular seasons (and careers to that point), the two midseason acquisitions (a LOOGY & a RH middle guy) gave up one run in a combined 13 appearances. They were the unsung heroes in the Yanks’ run that year. Without them, there’s no way they win.
The post-season can be pretty weird & oddly singular at times. We certainly lucked up with him last year, but it’s forever now. Thanks, Will.
Side point worth making: it’s possible to be a red ass who also does a lot for charity, people are complicated, and few among us deserve to be defined solely by our worst moments or qualities.
If anybody’s feeling sentimental, we’ll be seeing Will Smith in the next series. This is arguably our toughest stretch right now.
A partial list of people who deserve to be defined solely by their worst moments or qualities:
1) Shane Victorino
Dropping a thread on IL stints that I found quite fascinating. Maybe some of you already knew this, but I did not.
After what I learned yesterday about the 15-day IL from Boggy of @KnockahomaNTN, it’s not surprising that Young was brought up. Roster rules are so tricky. The 15-day IL doesn’t mean they stay down for 15 days & have to come back up (I didn’t think that either). The rules for the 15-day IL is that it’s a minimum 15 days, but is so often times, much, much longer. However, when the player has finally overcome the injury and is ready to play live games again, they can be placed in a rehab assignment for as many as 20 days for a position player and 30 days for a pitcher. Boggy’s not 100% sure, but there’s no evidence that a player has a say on when rehab is over within that 20 or 30-day period, but does have a right to file a grievance should he feel he’s being mistreated. Therefore, my guess is O’Day stays down until September, when rosters expand and AA will continue to promote and demote players with options.
Also, Dana Brown is being considered for the next GM of the Detroit Tigers and I’d rather that not happen. I wonder what the Braves try to pull off to keep him in the system. Would they promote him to GM with AA just moving to Prez of Baseball OPs while also maintaining his current role.
@13 I think most of the Marlins organization should be on that list as they are referred to as “pure evil”.
@13/15. As does Donnie Bushball Mattingly.
@16 I was semi surprised he didn’t hit RAJ or Grissom this weekend just because he could
4-3 for the year gets you 92 wins
4-3 this week gets you no where
4-3 may be as good as it gets
If it is 4 wins against the Mets, hum
Enjoy Keeping in mind the Mets are better
Maybe not Baba better
Lumineers next Tuesday
Unless an active rostered player goes on the IL, here is when #Braves optioned or IL’d players can return to the bigs:
*Posted w/o Boggy approval. We shall see…
That’s helpful, Ryan. I may be wrong, but as to Fried, his IL stint for concussion is seven days, which would make him eligible to return today. But it doesn’t matter, because Thursday is the earliest he might be cleared to pitch, and even that is not certain yet. It would be great if he is able to face deGrom this Thursday.
20 â€” I think you are right. But it would not surprise me if Varsity isnâ€™t ready and Anderson gets that start.
And Wright could also be ILâ€™ed at some point.
Way to hustle, Dansby…
Chipwatch, Special Monday Edition: “That shows how great these umpires are. We’ve looked at 5 replays from 3 angles and we still can’t tell if he’s safe or out.”
OK, Chip — so what does this have to do with umpire accuracy? In fact, doesn’t it just show that on really close plays, umpires can make any call with no fear of being overturned?
2 innings 43 pitches
Hopefully he will learn how to pitch soon.
My word, William utterly destroyed that ball. What a hitter he is.
Would you get a load of these rookies? Unreal!
Big Willie Style…
EDIT: And Eddie’s rockin’ it, too…
Ben made the same joke, @29 – great minds think alike!
More Mets luck. Carrasco at 48 pitches in the second inning and it rains
@31 – I suppose Canha’s heard that a lot.
So Soroka starts his rehab tomorrow with Rome (High A). It is nice to dream, but I’m afraid useful innings from him this year are too much to expect.
You people in Metro need to get the rain to stop through 4.5. It is on you.
For two guys with barely any experience above A-ball, Michael Harris II and Vaughn Grissom have some extraordinary field awareness and baseball IQ.
I’m not sure either of the balls RAJ or Harris hit were doubles for say, Riley.
Itâ€™s official. Now RAIN!!!!
Funky Cold Medina. Wonder if the Mets have fun with that.
Long live Tone Loc.
That, on the other hand, is a double Ronald hit that would’ve been a double for anybody in the league. Love to see continuous hard contact from him.
The Braves are on a hajj… it’s surprisingly easy to get to Medina.
Pour it on, boys.
Cue the Jack Nicholson smiling and nodding gif
The ball is jumping off Ronald’s bat. He’s back.
I would say save some for tomorrow, but screw it. See if it’s possible to blow them off the face of the Earth tonight.
Danny Young is like a position player pitching but throwing slower
I don’t care if Young throws 50 mph. Pitching 2 and 2/3 innings with no runs and not having to warm anyone up was great. He’s the game mvp in my book.
There were a lot of Mets fan in the park tonight. Was nice to shut them up early and often. We hit the ball hard, one through nine. I’m to the point where I want Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom to bat back to back from now until they retire.