Those of you expecting Alex will be disappointed. I believe he had important Queen Elizabeth II mourning to do, so I’m taking over the recap duties this evening…. even though I’m still mourning Queen Elizabeth I. By the way, it is little known that the late Queen was a huge baseball fan. (See above. My favorite of these is the bottom right where the Queen congratulates Tony LaRussa on beating her in the Prima Donna Sweepstakes.) She actually named Charles after Charlie Gehringer. She also played catcher whenever the Windsor Castle Slo-Pitch softball team was down a player. As you might expect, her favorite team was the Royals, though her NL team is the guys from Queens. It was not unexpected that her eldest son was named the King, but there was a time when she wanted to adopt Dave Kingman and have him succeed her, since he already had King in his name and had a lot more power than Charles, but wiser heads prevailed. It’s kinda weird though. Here are two guys born just over a month apart in 1948. One of them retired in 1986, and the other one didn’t get a job until 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926. The best hitter born in 1926 was Snider, Duke of Flatbush, to whom she was distantly related, like all those nobles are. Inbreeding, doncha know. But enough history.
A Missed Opportunity
Our team wandered back to the Bay Area to play the Giants. Spencer Strider took the mound pitching against one of the many players whose last name matches a Georgia county: Alex Cobb. The Giants started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a bunch of hard-hit balls off Strider. Two runs was really a pretty good result. He settled down, but the pitch count was really high (see the note in Chipwatch) and he was done after 5, giving up one more (unearned, on an errant Grissom throw, though there is a case to be made that Olson should have kept the throw in front of him) on the way out.
Meanwhile, the bats were like a meetup party for agoraphobics: a few scattered singles. (That’s a simile I would never try if I weren’t subbing for Alex.) A potential rally in the 7th was erased on a baserunning blunder by Harris. Dylan Lee pitched two perfect innings to stall for the cavalry.
The calvalry arrived in the 8th as Dansby knocked in two with a bases-loaded single. A double play from Riley and a flyout by Olson ended the threat.
Minter pitched a fine 8th (see below.)
d’Arnaud led off the 9th with a single. Harris took his place on a fielder’s choice. He advanced to second on a groundout from Grissom and it was down to Contreras vs. Alexander. A groundout ended the game.
Was this game winnable? Sure. But we didn’t. Mets lose, so no standings ground lost, but another day off the calendar.
Is there anything more amazing this year about Chip than his complete 180 on the importance of home runs? He has always been slightly schizophrenic about this of course, as he has touted the virtues of small ball for his entire career even while remarking on the potential change of score with a homer every time a Brave comes to the plate. But he has now fully bought in to the “home runs are what we do” mentality. Some might say he is simply admitting the obvious. My response is that admitting the obvious has never been part of his modus operandi. In any case, the knock on home-run-first teams is that they have difficulty surviving the playoffs against better pitching. The evidence for that proposition is, I think, weak, but I’m just starting to look at that question. What I know is that Chip hasn’t changed his mind… he’s just a cork floating on the zeitgeist.
Weird criticism department: “Strider is trying to get guys to put the ball in play, but he can’t because his stuff is too good.” I’m sure Nolan Ryan is imagining how much longer his career would have been if he just hadn’t wasted his arm on all those strikeouts.
Aficionados of the Classic Chip Enthusiasmus Interruptus should find a replay of Matt Olson’s at bat in the top of the 4th.
Finally, a Frenchy moment. When Minter came in to pitch in the 8th with the Braves down 3-2, Francoeur properly noted that this was a pennant-time change in Snit’s reliever strategy. Chip then contributed the uninteresting comment that you’d like to always use your best pitchers all the time but you can’t.