This Is What We Do: Braves club five homers, gut the Fish 8-1

Our Braves are clearly disciples of the great Earl Weaver, whose famous formula for winning baseball games was pitching and three run homers. As he explained, “Pitching keeps you in the game.  Home runs win the game.” It’s true the Braves didn’t launch any three run jacks in Friday’s 8-1 win over the Marlins, but I don’t think Earl would object to three two-run homers plus a couple of solo shots. 

Charlie Morton did his part in keeping them in the game, going 5 and two thirds, surrendering only one run on four hits with seven strikeouts.   McHugh, Chavez (of course he pitched well—great to see him in a Braves uniform!) and Iglesias finished the job with three and a third scoreless.

Holding them to one run would have seemed essential, since the opposing hurler was Cy Young front-runner Sandy Alcantara.  For that reason, several folks said this game is like a rehearsal for the playoffs.  If that’s true, I like our chances. 

Alcantara has been the best pitcher in the league, but as Snit said after the game: “We hit homers; this is what we do.”  Alcantara gave up the first three homers,  two run blasts by d’Arnaud, Harris, and Grissom.  By the time he left in the sixth, it was 6-1 and things were looking a lot better than they had been just two innings earlier.

In fact, through the first three innings, there wasn’t much room for optimism. Charlie was a little shaky in the early going.  In the first, the Fish hit a  couple of drives of home run distance that were just foul, and a long shot that Harris caught against the fence.  In the second Morton surrendered a double but left that runner stranded at third.  In the third the Marlins got on the board on a long home run to Jerar Encarnacion leading off the inning.  (I had to look that name up—it was his second career home run.)

Meanwhile Alcantara had only allowed one baserunner through the first three innings, and that was on a swinging bunt infield single by, of all people, Marcell Ozuna (remember him?).  That one run lead was looking pretty large. 

But then the Braves did what they do.  In the fourth, Swanson led off with a sharp single to left.  After a Riley strikeout and an Olson pop out, d’Arnaud gave the Braves the lead with a long home run to left.  Then, just like that, Harris singled and Grissom homered.  Boom—4-1.  After getting the lead, Morton held them right there.  All seven K’s by Morton were on his curveball, which to my eyes was breaking as sharply as it ever has.

In the bottom of the sixth, Travis was hit by a pitch and Harris hit a drive to the right field bleachers.  Boom, boom—6-1.  In the seventh, Riley got in on the action with a towering solo shot to left, Travis followed with his second dinger of the game to make it 8-1.

Turns out the new contracts have not ruined Riley or Harris.  I’m starting to think Mr. Anthopoulos knew what he was doing when he extended both of them.

Snit did indeed say after the game, “We hit homers; this is what we do.”  That last line also happens to be the title of MC Hammer’s theme song from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I remember that, because it was the first movie I took my son to.  MC Hammer acquired the nickname “Hammer” long before he was famous, due to his resemblance to Henry Aaron.  As a batboy with the A’s, the young Hammer got to know Mr. Aaron. Hank Aaron, MC Hammer: A bond forged nearly 50-years ago (mercurynews.com) It wasn’t long after that that Mr. Aaron persuaded a young Brian Snitker to give up his dream of playing baseball to become a manager.  If you follow the Braves and Henry Aaron closely enough, you realize there are no coincidences.

Snit also said of Harris and Grissom, and not for the first time, after the game: “They’re really good.”  As usual, I can’t argue with his analysis.

 *   *   *

Chipwatch: I watched the broadcast on Apple TV+.  I never thought I’d say this, but I missed Chip.  For a network that produces something as excellent as Ted Lasso, you’d think the quality of the baseball broadcasts at Apple TV+ wouldn’t be so banal.

I will admit, the pitch by pitch hit probability in the bottom corner of the screen is pretty cool.  I have no idea how they figure it, but I think Chip must have something to do with it.  I was watching it with Dansby up in the fourth.  His hit probability was only like 10% with one strike, but then it jumped to 25% with two strikes.  That makes no sense—no one hits better with two strikes.  But then I remembered Chip’s constant reference to all of Swanson’s two strike hits.  I guess the algorithm has also been listening to Chip.

There was one other thing I liked about the broadcast: the commercials with The Staples Singers singing “I’ll Take You There.”  I could listen to Mavis Staples any time.

  *   *   *

This is nine straight wins on Friday; 18-4 for the year.  In fact, the Braves have a winning record on Fridays even against the Mets, having won the only game they played on a Friday.  I’m not saying there is a connection between my doing Friday recaps this year and the team record on those days, but then again you never know.  As I said, there are no coincidences. 

Braves go for four straight on Saturday evening behind Odorizzi, who will try to build on the last two good starts. 

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.

108 thoughts on “This Is What We Do: Braves club five homers, gut the Fish 8-1”

  1. An evening on which there was nothing to complain about except the Nats losing – what a night. I didn’t watch a pitch so I’m lucky I got to read this recap. Thanks, and bravo, tfloyd!

  2. I want to stand up for Melanie Newman, the Apple TV play-by-play announcer. I think she’s quite good. Her partners in the booth were, I agree, among the worst I’ve ever heard. (I tried to go back, because at one point I thought one of them called Austin Riley Nelson Riley, which brought me back to daytime game shows in the ’70s, but I couldn’t manage to stop or back up the Apple+ stream.) Obviously, her voice timbre takes some getting used to, and her Spanish pronunciations are a modern thing that drive me up the wall…. actually, one of the more endearing things about Chip are his attempts to pronounce “Ehire.” But her play-by-play skills are very good when she doesn’t have to bounce ideas off the cretins surrounding her. With better partners and a regular gig, who knows? People rarely make allowances for the fact that National broadcasts (as opposed to broadcasts of the Nationals) have to be different in a lot of ways that will set fans of the individual teams on edge.
    She’s got an uphill battle to succeed in her chosen profession, but I think she has a chance… with much, much better partners.

  3. Earl Weaver won just one World Series.
    Was out managed most of his career. And he had teams that were always favored.
    Let us hope a similar fate is not bestowed upon this home run hitting manager.

  4. I should have exempted Newman from the critique. She is quite competent at play by play. But the other two guys in the booth offered the least informative commentary I have ever heard.

  5. He’s been extraordinary. Sounds like he had a good MRI but a “forearm strain” in September of a career year is ominous.

  6. Yup, Bryce Elder taking the hill tonight instead. Apparently, the Braves think Odorizzi will take his next start in Seattle.

    Go Dogs.

  7. Why did Dan Lanning take that job? The damn Auburn job is going to be available at the end of this year. The Lane Train might be pulling out of Oxford too.

    I would think Stetson will definitely be a Heisman finalist with that roster around him.

  8. It’s 49-3 with just over 10 minutes left, and Yahoo only says UGA has a 99.7% chance of winning? Really? I can’t imagine that in one of every 300 games with that score/time the losing team comes back to win, let alone a losing team that wasn’t a favorite and is playing effectively an away game.

  9. My college football playoff teams: Bama, Georgia, OSU, and USC.

    For those saying Utah, unfortunately, that run ends tonight. 😉

  10. Nats may take this game! Up 6 in the 9th still batting! Max (mets) sadly may be hurt. I believe May has been put on the IL earlier today. The Mets have an easy schedule but the injury bug may be starting to bite.

  11. Jansen should’ve pitched to the bottom of the order in the 8th and give Iglesias the top of the order in the 9th. Kenley as the undisputed closer is a concept that needs to die.

  12. We have five or six guys here on Braves Journal who are far superior baseball men than Snitker or Anthopoulos. Why aren’t they running things? We’d be in first by 20 games with the brain trust we have here.

  13. @32 well, Jansen’s 6 blown saves haven’t helped and he certainly isn’t our most lock down reliever

  14. And with that, Tyler Matzek generated the 10th one-pitch Win in Atlanta history. He joins Royce Ring, CJ Nitkowski, Macay McBride, Luke Jackson, Hunter Cervenka, Brad Brach (most recent — 2018), Steve Bedrosian, and Chad Paronto (twice)

    Note: pitch counts only date from the 80s, so there probably were some earlier ones.

  15. @34 sweet…Apparently you contend Jansen has been an effective reliever lately, I guess nothing gets by you. Especially since the GM decides who pitches the 9th, not the manager, right?

  16. Could the penalty be for the slight helmet to helmet contact? Otherwise you are correct that this is never flagged

  17. No, I just think you’re razor sharp. Manager isn’t good enough for you. Whenever the game is going on, I just look for your posts. Level-headed, mature, such deep knowledge. In my agnst as our team struggles, I turn to your wisdom. EdK and Bravey have nothing on you.

  18. @41 So much of baseball is confidence and if you don’t stick with your guys then they won’t deliver their best. Nobody plays well when they’re worried they’re going to lose their job. It might not be the best thing from a purely tactical standpoint but the other benefits are more important.

    Have you learned nothing from how Snitker treated Will Smith last year?

  19. @44 wow ok.I forgot this is a place you can’t discuss frustration with the game but I appreciate your snarky posts. I will be way more positive about baseball and life because of you…so thank you

  20. Two games back. I didn’t expect that given the pitching match-ups today. But great start by Elder tonight. It’s always good to have more pitching depth.

    Scherzer has left side fatigue, whatever that is. With May to the IL as well, the Mets pitching depth will be tested. Although their schedule means they can probably weather it ok.

  21. @45 yeah I get it. Snit always sticks with his guys and that is what makes him loved by his team. It works for the clubhouse and guys play hard for him

  22. Riley never did suck.
    Jansen is sucking
    No pitcher should get a win, and an other pitcher lose one because of above.
    Rules of baseball suck.

  23. If Grossman had made an out, who would have played LF in the 10th? I believe Arcia & Adrianza were the only two position players left; both have played a little LF this year. A gimpy Acuna might have been the best defensive option (in RF, moving Grossman to LF), but would that have meant no DH in the 8th spot? I guess Contreras could have gone to left and TdA could have stayed in the game to catch, which would’ve also provided insurance in case of a catcher injury. Don’t really like any of these options, so it’s a good thing they weren’t needed. Maybe someone will ask Snitker in his press availability.

  24. @54 Home plate umpire hit in the head with a foul. Not sure why it took so long to resume but a good excuse to replace Jansen with Matzek.

    @52 I wondered exactly the same thing. I’m sure TdA would have stayed in to catch but not sure what would happen to LF – I think maybe Arcia in LF replacing Contreras because his spot in the order might’ve taken a couple of innings to come up. After TdA lined out, I was actually hoping for a walk-off-walk.

    I also presume Stephens will take Elder’s spot on the roster tomorrow.

    P.S. According to Moylan, Jansen’s cutter isn’t cutting and he is going with other pitches. If true, a good reason to change his leverage until he figures it out.

  25. Bryce Elder. What a beautiful and gutsy performance. Our starting pitching is set for years to come. Soroka also had a very good game at Gwinnett the other day. Jansen will figure it out and if not with Matzek, Minter and Iglesias, I am not worried for the post-season. We will be fine. Go Braves!
    Bravery, where have you actually been the past four days?

  26. Win, boys; just win.

    How bout ’em?

    It seems we have a bumper crop of invective. Are you seeing the same team as I?

    Go Braves!

  27. I really like when Moylan does the games, he adds so much value to the broadcast.

    And I just looked at the Dodgers, good lord, 689 win and we are into September, unreal.

  28. Yes, the Dodgers are on a pace to win 112 games. The all time record of 116 is clearly within reach. I hope they get it. That will make defeating them in the playoffs that much sweeter.

  29. And the Braves are on pace to win 100. Who would have predicted that last May 31? Thanks, Michael and Spencer.

  30. To be clear, it’s highly unlikely the Dodgers win 116. They’d have to go 25-5 the rest of the way. Possible, but not likely, especially since they have the top seed sewn up already. Still, they are likely to win at least 106 for the third full season in a row. I don’t think any team has done that before.

    (I’m skipping 2020 in that “three full seasons in a row” but the Dodgers winning percentage in those 60 games was over .700)

  31. I get defending Kenley and Snitker, I really do, but if we can’t second guess in-game decisions then what’s the point of even having a game thread? That’s like 80% of baseball fandom (the rest being pure joy or pure sadness). Sticking with players is good as long as they eventually turn it around. We shall see…

    I was encouraged to see Olson beat the shift and do something positive at the plate. Maybe that’s a little thing that gets him going again.

  32. @55 Thanks, Roger!

    @63 absolutely agree that it’s part of the fun. And Kenley hasn’t been throwing strikes. That’s an issue with any pitcher, but especially a closer. If he’s throwing strikes and they’re hitting them… that happens. But it seems lately there’s been a lot of walks, HBP, and hitter’s counts.

    But OTOH, yes, we did win. Against an excellent starter, and we even managed a win on a day the Mets lost. So, huzzah!!

  33. Somewhat in Kenley’s defense – the first two batters of the 9th inning hit (1) a soft pop fly to RF that might have been caught had Grossman not been playing bizarrely deep positioning and (2) a sharply hit groundball that split 3B / SS (but would have been a DP if it’d been hit a few feet in either direction. I turned the game off after he walked the next guy but I will say – his misses last night were at least not the gawdawful head-high pitches he’s launched in his really bad outings recently.

    When Kenley’s right, he’s unfair – pinpoint control, cutter busting in on batters. I think his best days are behind him but there’s no reason he can’t get things figured out and be a good (if not utterly dominant) closer.

    All that said – if it’s up to me, I’d let Kenley walk after this season and Iglesias can close. Seems crazy to have two relievers making $16M+.

  34. My bad, guys, I dropped the ball on the recap for last night. My schedule is busier now than it was, and I think I need a replacement for Saturday recaps.

  35. @65. “All that said – if it’s up to me, I’d let Kenley walk after this season and Iglesias can close. Seems crazy to have two relievers making $16M+.”

    This seems like something just shy of foregone conclusion for me. Kenley always seemed like a one-year premium rental that only happened because the other options came off the board, and his performance this year highly suggests that he’s in a physical decline that could absolutely accelerate next season.

  36. Chipwatch, Sunday edition. I grant that anyone who has put together 9 years in MLB and earned $25 million doing it has done something that millions of people would gladly exchange their own life histories for, but there are supposed to be standards. By what metric has Miguel Rojas had a “great career?”

  37. Fried, Wright and Strider all pitching at Ace levels as we enter the home stretch. If this keeps up I really like our chances against anyone, notwithstanding the playoffs are still a crapshoot even in the best circumstances.

  38. We’ve all kind of written off the possibility of any positive contributions from Ozuna, but he’s acting like he could contribute with the bat the rest of the way. You know, they’re not going to release him before the season is over, so if he’s going to be on the roster, might as well contribute.

  39. Ryan, Given all the baseball genius on this site, finding someone to do a Saturday recap should be a walk in the park. Not a Jansen walk.
    Can you have the best bullpen in baseball with a B closer. I will anxious to see his APBA rating for this year. I am guessing an A. Been playing mostly mail leagues since 1957. Always looked forward to driving to Lancaster to get the game before they were mailed. Generally 5 or 6 of us. Checking out the cards with joy and disappointment. Now located in Alpharetta. The Braves roll a lot of 66’s.

    Yes I do know more about baseball than most. I played 41 years with great success.
    Coached with the same sucess. I choose the military over a full scholarship to a big baseball school as a tribute to my dad who fought in WWII. He never said a word and I do the same. Plus I pay attention to detail knowing the importance of it. If I jump to a conclusion it has strong bearings. I accept any challenges to my opinions. This is not to say I am always correct, but compared to most I am. Earl Weaver was not a sucessful post season manager. Facts tell the truth. Cox also was not sucessful given his teams were almost always correct. I attempt to educate myself daily.
    Not very American, I know.

  40. Thanks for your service EdK. And for your dad’s. The sacrifices of the Greatest Generation never cease to humble me and make me grateful. And sometimes you even make a cogent point about baseball.

  41. In his postgame comments yesterday, Michael Harris talked about Riley and his homer and said, “I wanna be like him when I grow up,” and I love this team so much.

    Echoing BraveMarine, thank you for your service, EdK — and to all those on this board who have served.

  42. OK… I have done some research during the rain delay. IF this game is called here, the 30 combined at-bats by the two teams will not be the lowest in MLB history of a nonforfeited, non-tie. But it’s damn close. Our predecessors, the Boston Doves, played a game with the Cincinnati Reds on August 14th, 1909 with only 29 total at-bats between the two teams. The Doves won the game 1-0.

    Of course, if the game resumes, I’ve just wasted an hour tracking down games with less that 30 at-bats. That’s my idea of Sunday fun.

    By the way, there are three other 29 at-bat games… the last was 7/30/1971, Royals at Baltimore.

  43. @82 In Bill James’ Historical Abstract, he mentioned that KC-Baltimore game in 1971. Dick Drago (I think) got credit for a 4-inning complete game because rain halted it in the middle of the 5th with Baltimore up 1-0.

  44. Has there ever been anyone like Jesse Chavez, who excels for one team in multiple times with them, but is not very good at all in any other uniform?

  45. Looks like we need to trade Chavez again. He blew the no hitter by allowing a single in 2 innings, and only struck out 3 of the 7 batters he faced. What a slacker.

  46. Fried’s ERA is down to 2.48. He is 2nd in the NL in bWAR. If Alcantara fades down the stretch, Fried has an outside shot at the Cy Young.

  47. I want to offer a sincere thank you to Brave Marine and Alex R for your kind comments. My 75 year old warehouse manager is a Marine and also my partner.
    I was 75th Ranger Regiment. Myself and my closest three high school friends all joined at once. Jim was drafted by the Dodgers, Bill had a full football scholarship to Penn State, Larry a full basketball scholarship to Saint Joe’s. Of course we all looked back and questioned our decisions, especially after an unwelcome arrival home. Bill was the most depressed so we went to Woodstock.
    Three of us had a great time, Bill did not.
    All three are no longer with us. I admit to tears flowing.
    Again thank you kindly for caring.

    Cogent, I liked that. I am going to use it now in solving the 6 letter Wordle.

    Also, I think I need to show more respect.

  48. @90–good comp! I had not remembered the sequence of Bielecki going to and from the Braves. He was pretty similar.

  49. Hey Ed. I’ll echo the sentiments here. Thanks for your service. I talk with Braves Marine a good deal behind the scenes and he’s a very charitable and honorable man, as I’m sure you are, as well. We all miss the mark and sometimes misread our online friends. It’s never too late for a clean slate and we can definitely do that here.

  50. EdK and BraveMarine–I certainly didn’t have what it takes to be a Marine myself, but I married into a Marine family. My father-in-law was a Marine aviator–fighter pilot in the Pacific in World War II (Corsair f4U), and then one of the first helicopter pilots ever in Korea, evacuating the wounded just like you’ve seen in MASH. He’s 99 and still sharp as a tack. I fully expect to be celebrating his 100th birthday with lots of family and friends next April.

    And although he’s always been a football fan and never much cared for baseball, during last season and this he’s been watching every Braves game on TV and following them pretty closely. Like with his daughter, sometimes it takes a while, but truly wise and good people do become baseball fans.

  51. Thank you Ryan. A fresh start is the best start.
    I think the most important stats in making a quality pitcher is innings, and ERA. The rest are often factors the pitcher is not able to control. Even ERA to a small degree. Innings benefits the pitching staff.
    When Swanson was hitting over 300, I hoped he finish over 280.
    When Harris’s average was dropping I was again hoping for 280. Now I go for 300.
    Grissom, I hope for 280.
    How can a pitcher who has thrown few innings have arm fatigue?

    I said the Braves could not catch the Mets. I am happy to stand corrected. The Marlins offensive is embarrassing.

    No baseball Monday, does not seem right.

    Bright Light Social Hour coming to St. Petersburg to celebrate WMNF’s 43rd birthday. The best radio station on Planet Earth. WXPN in Phila is second. Both 88.5.

  52. @89–I think it’s better than an outside shot. If Max pitches well over the next month, he’s right in the mix. Alcantara may very well fade, and the voters will penalize for how bad his team is. I suspect Urias is the other frontrunner.

  53. Ryan, Alex, EdK, tfloyd- thank you all for your gracious words.
    tfloyd – I bet you do have what it takes to have been a good Marine. Character, honor, values and mental toughness matter more than the physical. How I’d love to meet your father in law! I go to church with a 100 yr old WW2 fighter pilot who was also experienced and good enough that he was training other fighter pilots by the end of the War. He’s still mighty sharp too. I was blessed to spend 28 yrs in the Corps altogether and got to meet many veterans from WW2, Korea and Vietnam, many highly decorated and many who answered the call of duty without much recognition. (In the case of the Vietnam vets, without even receiving any gratitude from much of society.) When I entered in 1987 there were of course many Vietnam vets still serving in senior positions. But I even got to serve with a handful whose careers began in Korea. The forgotten War, as Korea has been called, offers incredible lessons and inspiration. Listening to the stories of all those who served before, and doing a lot of research and reading over the years, I don’t consider anything I went through comparable to those Marines. And I certainly have experiences that most would not be able to fully appreciate. What amazing things they overcame.
    There can never be enough of those kind of men and women and we owe them all a debt.
    I’ve been a Braves fan since they moved to Atlanta and began to earnestly follow them by the late 60s and never lost my fandom in all the years. Some of my fondest memories involve listening to the games on WSB 750 as a kid on my little transistor radio that I hid under my pillow so I could listen to them after bedtime; and then following them on short wave radio, other 50,000 watt AM stations, Armed Forces Radio, and reading the Stars and Stripes paper in remote places around the country and the globe to keep up with how my Braves were doing.
    I’ve noticed some on here in recent days have referenced Tony Phillips and even playing with him. I was a year behind him at Roswell HS and though I didn’t play with him, for 3 years I got to watch him play multiple HS sports at an all star level. Basketball, football, baseball, track. Knew older brother Leonard, father of Jermaine, and younger brother Craig well too. A family of amazing athletes.
    PS. In June I went back for the first time ever to a RHS reunion. #44 I think. It was good.

  54. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the Natspos for doing what none of us would have ever thought possible.

    One game back. Hot damn, let’s play two!

  55. The entitlement among that fanbase is something else. They behave as if they were a lock for the pennant this year.

  56. EdK: I was out all evening so I missed the chance to join the admiration society. Count me in. And just to point out, for a guy who thinks I talk too many numbers, your two measures of pitcher quality (innings and ERA) are exactly right. As I wrote earlier this year, the problem with Wins is they don’t say anything more about the pitcher than ERA and innings pitched do. So we agree! (There are those who think FIP even beats ERA, but I’m not among them.)

  57. @101 the next time Degrom’s health falters the wailing coming from Queens will be audible in Cobb County.

    This sure is shaping up to be a fun pennant race! Kinda reminiscent of ‘93. Shocking to see the Mutts lose repeatedly to the Nats – but such are the ups and downs of the baseball season. All the Braves can do is strap in and keep winning until they hit the finish line. That final home series against the Mets is going to be rocking!

  58. The Mets have a worse case of playing down to the competition than the Braves. Who wins 2/3 from the Dodgers and then loses 2/3 against the gNats?

    For all the gnashing of teeth, the Braves swept the Fish.

  59. @101 and 103 They thought it was a lock before it got close. Now, 90% have already conceded the division. Chipper Jones forever broke them.

  60. Thank you JohnathanF. I really have no idea what FIP is. I will find out.
    I would like figures on how relief pitchers do each inning with the score. In other words are they good in all innings with close scores vs. big leads or way behind. My thought is some pitchers are not comfortable in close games especially late innings. I never use the word choke, some players nervous systems hinder them in pressure situations. Experience can remedy that. Also there is no such thing as muscle memory. Your brain initiates all physical activity. Some so fast it is called muscle memory. No such thing. Even as I type this my mind makes every letter possible.
    Incredible tennis match
    Kyrgios over Medvedev

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