Another Stumble: Giants 3, Braves 2

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.

Chipwatch

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.

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 “Another Stumble: Giants 3, Braves 2”

  1. Thanks a lot, JonathanF. This recap made me laugh and smile despite the poor results.
    Will get back to winning tonight since the Braves don’t do four-game losing streaks this season. Go Braves!

  2. Rally Killers Riley and Olsen strike again … Im ready for a new batting order …

    Acuna, dh
    Harris , cf
    Swanson, ss
    Riley, ss
    Olsen.1b
    D’arnaud, c
    Rosario, rf
    Grissom, 2b
    Grossman, lf

    P.S. – Grissom .. he is adjusting to pitchers to survive up here ..but his defense is not very good ….. I dont see him as a middle infielder long term .. definately not SS … his glove is average at best ..cost us 3 runs last night

  3. @4 I don’t hate that lineup but Snit won’t do that yet. We all know he is a ride or die type of guy

  4. Wonderfully written, typically entertaining and enlightening, sir. Thank you.

    Give them heck today, boys.

  5. I must say, you’ve outdone yourself JonathanF. Great recap of a disappointing loss. On a side note, I’m afraid that King Charles III is already slumping now that he has a new big fat contract with the British Peoples.

  6. @4 at least once, if not twice, grissoms bad plays were possibly the result of having his view blocked by the second base umpire. Some crazy bad luck.
    The single that scored the second run for sure, at least.
    We gotta be remember that guy’s like Harris , Strider, and Grissom are still works in progress, even with the success they’ve shown already.
    As long as they don’t end up with a Jeff Francoeurian regression, I choose to be very happy with what I’ve seen.

  7. Bravo… you’re right — Liz had nothing on LaRussa.

    Three wins & three losses on this trip… let’s get back on the victory train. The Mets (when deGrom’s not pitching) aren’t exactly killing it now, either.

    Anybody going to the Sunday game @ Truist vs. the Phils? I’ll be there. Let’s have a beverage.

    Also, if anyone likes blazing punk rock & wants to see a great band (from the Braves’ Andres Thomas Era), Friday night at 529 Bar in East Atlanta will deliver:
    https://tinyurl.com/MercylandGig

  8. Thanks, Jonathan. I thought the conventional wisdom about home-run-dependent teams was that on average they did better in the playoffs against good pitching than did singles-and-walks-dependent teams that scored the same number of runs. If a good pitcher reduces the number of singles by 10% (or whatever) and the number of HR by 10%, then it’s much tougher to string two or three singles together and only a little tougher to hit a HR. If you hit a single in Coors Field during the steroid era, there’s a pretty good chance someone will be on base for you to drive in, and a decent chance that someone after you will drive you in. If you hit a single against Bob Gibson in 1968 in the Astrodome, it’s not likely that there will be anyone on base for you to drive in or that anyone after you will drive you in. I’m not sure if the data on runs scored on HR is easily available, but one way to get a larger sample size than just postseason games would be to look at the ratio of runs allowed on HR to total runs allowed for good pitchers and bad pitchers (or pitchers in pitchers’ parks and in hitters’ parks). The ratio of HR to total runs might also get at the same thing if the effect is extreme enough.

    Along those lines, in one of his early mass-published Abstracts (1985?), Bill James did a study of what sort of teams did well in the postseason and found that the strongest relationship was that teams that hit more doubles than their postseason opponents lost most of the time. He speculated that this was because teams that hit doubles needed multiple events in an inning to score and multiple events were less likely against good pitchers. Look forward to seeing what you find.

  9. @11: The things you’re bringing up are why this is a hard question. And the questions are layered by how you define a good pitching staff — do you adjust for their propensity to give up homers, holding ERA constant? It seems like a lot of the thinking about this question is of the “Good pitching beats good hitting — and vice versa” type except that you’re going one layer deeper without a good methodology.

    In any case, I think you are right that my “conventional wisdom” characterization is probably too glib. There are probably as many opinions about this as there are opinions.

  10. Not making the Queen’s top hat all matchy-matchy with her tools of ignorance…scandalous. Somebody’s trying to start a war over here.

  11. My take is that all the successful teams are converging to similar profiles – good pitching and power hitting teams make the playoffs. Is there really enough fine-grained distinction between these teams to draw any grand conclusions? Or to make predictions on which of these similarly-constructed teams will outscore the other in a short series?

    I’d eliminate the playoff crapshoot and instead look at how correlated high-HR totals are to regular season success (making the playoffs in the first place). Anecdotally the only outlier I can remember in the last decade would be the Royals – and ironically they seemed to hit a lot of HRs during their postseason WS run.

  12. I hope we can resign Swanson …if not we’ve lost Mr clutch …I want bat in his hand when things are on the line …

  13. To be fair, one of the misplays was an obvious blown call by Laz Diaz and Hunter Wendlestadt. On the other hand, that misplay didn’t actually cost them a run. The other one (a bad throw home by Alonso) did.

  14. Our defense has not done us any favors on this road trip. Not a bunch of errors but not making many plays either.

    We don’t make plays, other teams have been making us pay

  15. Might be time to skip Wright in the rotation to give his arm a rest. His command has been off the last couple of times out

  16. I don’t hate the concept of throwback uniforms, but good gosh, San Francisco’s jerseys are atrocious. I have no idea what they are.

  17. Chip is now pushing Cy Young consideration for Wright. I’m thrilled with Kyle’s season, but he’s not a real Cy Young candidate. It’s like his pushing Riley for MVP last year. Austin was really good though not a serious MVP candidate last year. But Riley’s been even better this season than last and could be the MVP if not for the other worldly season Goldschmidt is having. So maybe Chip’s touting of Wright is a good sign for next year.

  18. Chip: Saying Dansby Swanson is the best Braves home run hitting shortstop since Denis Menke is such an insult to Andres Thomas. (I had a lot of guys to choose from here, but ububba, above, is my inspiration.)

    Swanson’s 27 homers last year, by the way, is tied for the 55th best performance by a shortstop. ARod hit more in his two best years as a shortstop than Dansby has in his career. The names above Dansby on that list are home run hitting shortstops: ARod, Banks, Tejada, Lindor, Ripken just to name a few. Dansby is a shortstop who hits the ball hard when he hits it. That’s good, but you don’t really do Dansby any favors by comparing him (implicitly) to Lindor in power, just as tfloyd is correct that you do Wright no favors comparing him to Alcantara or deGrom.

  19. @ 33 – I think Chip thinks that the number 1 criteria for Cy Young should be wins. Wright has had a great year, but Fried is a much better candidate. Although I think Alcantara will win it.

  20. McHugh is a one trick pony and if that trick isn’t working it can be problematic. Thankfully tonight it was

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