Braves 4, Phillies 3

Ronald Acuna Jr. crushed a 2-run homer to right in the bottom of the 3rd and doubled in 2 runs in the 4th to give the Braves a 4 – 0 lead over Aaron Nola and clinch the weekend series for the Braves. But wait, there’s more! Ronald added a spectacular diving catch to rob Bryce Harper with the bases loaded, ending the 5th inning and saving 3 more runs.

The unfortunate news is that as part of his journey to score the Braves 3rd run, Ozzie Albies fractured the pinky on his right hand while sliding headfirst into 2nd base. David O’Brien, among others, reports Ozzie will miss at least the rest of the regular season. Ozzie was replaced by Vaughn Grissom in the top of the 5th.

Jake Odorizzi shut down the Phillies for 4 innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 5, but after a walk, a single, a sacrifice fly, and 91 pitches he was replaced by Dylan Lee with 2 out in the 5th. Lee surrendered a hit to Kyle Schwarber, then walked Alec Bohm to load the bases. However, Lee was bailed out by Ronald’s spectacular diving catch going toward the right field line.

Collin McHugh pitched an uneventful 6th, but he allowed the Phillies to pick up a 2nd run in the 7th, and once again a lefty was summoned to face Schwarber. This time the reliever was A.J. Minter, who retired Schwarber and Bohm on 2 pitches.

Minter came back for the 8th to face Bryce Harper but allowed him a double. Raisel Iglesias came on at that point and retired J.T. Realmuto, but 2 singles later, Harper scored the Phillies final run.

Nola settled down after the 4th and lasted 7 innings, allowing 7 hits and striking out 8. Brad Hand brad handled the Braves in the 8th.

Kenley Jansen pitched an uneventful 9th to pick up his 34th save. Dansby Swanson helped out by chasing down a foul pop up from his shortstop position and catching it up against the netting along the 3rd base stands.

I read a story many years ago about Joe DiMaggio, who had arm problems later in his career. The story was that DiMaggio would unleash one powerful throw in warmups before each game. This and his reputation was enough to stop opponents from running on him, even though only he knew that he had no more throws left in the arm for the day.

Two Braves outfielders without arm problems are shutting down opponents an easier way. Bohm would not challenge Michael Harris’s reputation on a potential sacrifice fly in the 4th, and after Acuna unleashed a throw home on the fly from just short of the warning track in the 5th, Harper would not attempt to score from 2nd on a one hop single to Acuna in the 8th. (Harper eventually scored, as noted above.)

The Braves remain 1 game behind the first place Mets and go for the series sweep at 1:35 Sunday: Spencer Strider and Bailey Falter scheduled.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

42 thoughts on “Braves 4, Phillies 3”

  1. Thanks, Rusty. Great time for Ronald to heat up. Poor Ozzie, that really sucks. We’re lucky to have Grissom to jump right back in.
    @Ryan from the last thread. That’s a shame but family absolutely has priority. Hopefully next time.

  2. @3 and a comment from the previous thread, this isn’t quite Olson’s worst year. Disregarding his 2016 cup of coffee, his OPS+ was worse in 2020 and only slightly better in 2018. Those are the only two years in his career in which he’s led his league in games played, which I suppose might just be a coincidence, but I wonder.

    @3, I’d like to see Olson get a day off against the Mets when Strider pitches and have Ozuna not play either. I haven’t looked at the numbers, but I think that whole Braves lineup would be making less than Scherzer (or deGrom, whichever of the two starts that day) and Lindor combined. Strider, TdA, Arcia, Grissom, Swanson, Riley, Acuna, Harris, Rosario, and Contreras – none of them has a huge salary this year. They might be able to get close to Scherzer’s salary alone if Acuna tweaks something and is replaced by Heredia, but I’d rather not find out.

  3. In a game where Ronnie had a 2-run oppo no doubter, a 2-run double, and a diving catch, the most impressive thing is that insane throw he made from 10 feet from the warning track on the line to just miss nailing the runner at the plate. That was one of the best throws you’ll see.

  4. I wonder if any outfield defensive metrics take into account runs saved due to the fact that teams stop running on particular players? Although the runner scored on Ronnie’s throw in the 5th, Bryce Harper sure wasn’t going to try it in the 8th.

    How do you measure making a play in the 5th that (temporarily) saves a run in the 8th?

  5. @3 Not sure how it was calculated, but during their 1978 stretch run against the Yankees, the Red Sox claimed that statistically their right fielder Dwight Evans (who had a cannon at least as good as MH II’s) was worth a half run per game on average because NO ONE ran on Dwight’s arm. So he saved a run per each two games. Sounds reasonable to me.

  6. @7 Especially since the outfield assist stat is misleading in the cases where an outfielder gets ran on a lot because he has a bad arm.

  7. @9, seems like a stretch, though Evans did have a heck of an arm. There aren’t that many plays in a game in which a runner will run on one OF and not on another, and in some of them if he runs he’s thrown out, which is a much bigger deal than the base saved or gained.^ Even if he doesn’t run, the next batter might drive him in anyway.

    Another way to look at it is that the difference between a great pitcher and an averageish one is about two runs a game. I doubt the Bosox really believed that the difference between Evans’s arm and a regular RF’s arm was 1/4 as important as the difference between Ron Guidry and an average pitcher.

    ^ On a related note, I remember reading a long time ago that runners didn’t try to steal on Johnny Bench because his arm was so good, and that that actually hurt the Reds because so many runners would otherwise try to steal when it wasn’t a good percentage play.

  8. These last two wins are helping us keep pace with the Mets, but it occurred to me this morning that they are also pushing Philly closer to that wild card cut off. They are now only a half game up on San Diego as of the start of the day for the 2nd WC spot and Milwaukee is only 1.5 games out from the 3rd spot (and 7-3 in their last ten games.)

  9. Is there a better example of why 20 homers is no longer a big deal any more than the fact that Ozuna has 21?

  10. Riley has been off since Aug 1st …200 avg since signing for all the money .. Olson has just been on a steady fall .. and Snit keeps running him out there .. today against a lefty would have beena good opportunity … you do not want Riley or Olson up when you need a clutch hit … give me Swanson and Harris or Grossman all day ahead of those 2 .. add Ozuna to that too

  11. Why is Olsen batting fourth? I am not the most educated in the sport of baseball (lacrosse yes), but does your worst hitter bat fourth?

  12. Strider pitches ass off … gives up one hit . a damn bulldog and we can’t get a flipping run to win him a game .

  13. I can’t take it anymore. Let me educate those who obviously have limited knowledge of how the batting order affects the team and individuals
    Having a pathetic hitter in back of a very good hitter as the Braves do with the worthless Olsen causes two effects. Riley realizing he must do more, presses and goes out of his comfort zone. The pitcher is also aware and gives Riley nothing to hit knowing there is not need to be concerned with the next hitter who sucks.
    But many of you prefer a two star restaurant for eight years, rather than a five star for four. Atlanta, Freeman and his agent have the Braves eating at Taco Bell. Bon Appetit.

  14. Some refreshing and original hot takes today. ;)

    Hell of a way to pick up both Strider and Harris, Contreras. For God sakes, whatever you do, DO NOT sign that trumpet player to a long term deal! Now lock it down, Matzek. (EDIT – And he did!!)

  15. Yep, with Atlanta playing the Phillies and the Mets playing the Pirates, our chances of winning the division have passed us by. Wait, we kept pace with them and are only one game out, assuming the Mets win?

    We start a series with the Nationals and New York plays the Brewers. I’m not guaranteeing we win the division, but I still like our chances

  16. Johnathanf you are.wrong. You obviously never played the game. You allow numbers to dicate incorrect conclusions. Why not ask those whom you know that played the game. Ask Riley, see what he says. Of course he will say it has no effect because he does not want to throw Olsen under the bus. I am sure you are capable of finding knowledgeable players who will educate you.
    Regardless the Braves are still eating grade D prison food with Olsen.

  17. Thank goodness. I’ve been missing EdK and BillEdwards of the Palm Beach Tribune recently. We need that kind of thing around here.

    So if the SD/Arizona score holds up (SD up 3-0 last I checked), San Diego moves into the second WC spot after the Phillies loss. So the question becomes (assuming for the sake of argument the Mets do go on to win the division, which I am not conceding) who would we rather face in the WC series? San Diego or Philly?

    EDIT – plus, to touch on Td’s point – Milwaukee still ain’t out of this and that will play into the next week…hopefully.

  18. Only a boring game to many (not me)
    would have so many worthless numbers to justify the lack of baseball knowledge. Why are other sports void of such nonsense? Reason is the fact that most offer nothing. The game is getting worse yearly. Watch the game, educate yourself by doing so. The subtleties will allow you to be much smarter than you ever imagined. Just like real jazz vs. smooth jazz. 5 star vs. 2 star.
    Good sweep. Must continue the trend.
    Bat Olsen lower and see who is correct.
    Does Snitker have the intellect to do such a thing. I doubt it.

  19. Thelonious is a good addition to the know nothings who sometimes inject their “wisdom” on this blog. Refreshingly he’s keeping with his moniker, as Thelonious Monk was a real-life Jazz pianist. Kudos for sticking to the bit.

    This certainly makes it interesting for the NL Wild-card race. Having the Phillies miss the playoffs would be quite sweet.

  20. I shouldn’t reply to this, but I cannot help it. Don’t feed, I know…but…

    I would not presume to answer for JonathanF as I know he can answer perfectly well enough for himself. That said, I would suggest @Thelonious that you might take a less hostile tone in your posts. Secondly, you would find if you got to know the folks around here that many have played the game and more have been following the Braves and baseball since at least the Braves came to Atlanta. Longer than myself, I can assure you from reading their words for these last 20 years.

    Third, all sports have stats than can be instructive. Baseball may have more because it is older and has had stats since Chadwick started the trend in the 19th century. And fourth…did you just say “real jazz”? By your name, I assume you appreciate the art form, but what does that have to do with baseball? Or are you really Ken Burns? And how did you find Braves Journal? Mac would be so proud!

    OK. That’s all I’ve got. A slump is a slump and Olsen’s is pretty bad. Sucks for him (and us) but it’s baseball. And I’d like to think a baseball lifer like Snitker might have a better idea how to help a player get out of one than a keyboard warrior. But then, maybe I don’t have an understanding of the subtleties of the game that I’ve been watching since the 80s. Could be. (NB – I did play 2 years of little league but I sucked so I did not continue with the game on the field.)

  21. There are very few teams the Braves have lost the season series to. Among those are the Padres and the Dodgers (we’re behind the Mets so far). I’d rather face either of the Phillies or the Brewers rather than the Padres. And St. Louis at home rather than the road.

  22. Hello Al,
    I am forced to return premature.
    I played serious baseball for 41 years. I can provide documentation if required. I coached state and and national championship winners I guarantee you I could do a better job than the Braves current manager. You assume just because he has the job he is the best option. Snitker is lucky to he in the top half of all managers. You probaby also feel the last two clowns we have had for president are the best available. If that is the case I am most sadden.
    Snitker has no feel for the game, he is a robot. Now some say old school. I say no school, he just doesn’t think under pressure. Why makes Cash, Francona and many others much superior? What makes anybody much better than an other under pressure. Usually the ones who nervous system reacts best under pressure. Snitker’s does not react very well. He can not analyze well at critical parts of the game.
    An added note
    Bobby Cox 67-69 in playoff games
    24 series 12 and 12
    One run games 19-25
    Glavine 14-16
    Maddux 11-14
    Smoltz 15-4 two loses he gave up no earned runs.
    Those Braves were built to win regular season games not playoff games.
    Cox was not a very good playoff manager considering his team was favored in 23 of 24 series
    People get fired all the time because they are not the best available. Lifetime baseball lifers do not guarantee quality managers. Olsen batting fourth for this long proves my point. Snikter does not know better. And please don’t tell me he won a World Series as proof of his competence. He had three players do something they never did before or after
    If Smith had performed as he did during the regular season the Dodgers would have eliminated the Braves.
    By the way I pitched batting practice to the Braves at West Palm Beach. Hank Aaron said he never batted against a hippie. Biggest thrill I ever had in sports.
    Could I have played in the Majors if I had not chosen the years in the military. Many say so. I did what I thought was more important. I won three games at Fort Gordon and three more at Fort Bragg.
    Yes baseball is important to many in the military.
    I will along with you support the Braves as I have every year since 1953.

  23. If the Phillies find a way to miss the playoffs, this town will explode. Only thing deadening the blow will be the fact the Eagles’ season has started.

    I’m not sure the public will allow Thomson to stay if they squander this.

    So entertaining to watch though.

  24. Thelonious and an EdK sighting. This thread is full of such insightful and eloquently written baseball wisdom that I can feel the IQ of this antipodean baseball fan rising from the depths of ignorance.

    In terms of who I’d like to play, Milwaukee would be preferable (if we don’t win the division). Thankfully with 16 to play, and being 6 losses better than St. Louis, the odds of them ending up with the 2nd seed is diminishing rapidly.

  25. Went to my first game at Truist today. Man, what a thing the Braves have going on there with The Battery and everything else. A totally different vibe and atmosphere than the Turner Field days. And it doesn’t hurt that the on-field product is maybe as good as it has ever been in Atlanta, top-to-bottom.

  26. Thelonious and EdK: Nobody says you don’t know the game. At least I haven’t seen anyone say that. But the mass of statistics amassed in baseball (and now in every other sport — baseball came first because of the discrete nature of the bookeeping of baseball, which is why interesting fielding stats came last: no relevant bookkeeping) allow someone to do something which is to say (for example): you say that protection of batters is an important thing. IF that is true, then we should expect to see the following things in the stats– A, B, C. Now we look and we either see them or we don’t. If we see them, then it turns out that what everyone knows is correct, but we add something really valuable — we know how valuable compared to other things that are valuable. . If we don’t see them, there are a few possibilities:
    (a) A,B, and/or C don’t really follow from the concept of protection.
    (b) our measures are too crude, or sample sizes are too small to glean anything of value
    (c) what people intuitively know to be true isn’t true. People really focus on this third category as if the nerds have taken over, but this category is a really small part of the aggregate of all baseball knowledge, and there are often hidden caveats — attempts to exploit this thing that everybody intutively thinks is right turns out to be right after all for other reasons, unexpected consequences.
    I come at this from a simple viewpoint. Most statements about things that are important to winning baseball games allow us to quantify the size of the effect. (There are exceptions… if you tell me that someone needs a supportive role model at age 15 to be a great baseball player, that might be true, but I don’t think we have the data to show the implications one way or the other). That’s great news, and it doesn’t detract in any way from the knowledge of those who played the game and, indeed, uses their knowledge as a base from which to draw inferences. This doesn’t have to be adversarial. I learn every week that something I thought was right doesn’t seem to comport with the obersavable consequences, and not just about baseball… About almost everything! That seems like a great thing to me. Question what you know, and try to figure if reality agrees with you.

  27. So I gave you a link, Thelonious, to a Tom Tango study. He tells you exactly what he did. If protection is as important as you think it is, tell me where he went astray. He does find an effect… He finds that the guy getting protection walks somewhat more than the same guy not getting protection, but that his other batting stats are no better… he doesn’t get better pitches to hit. He gets worse pitches, but that means he walks somewhat more. And he measures the effect, and it’s pretty small. Nothing about having played the game or not having played the game contradicts this in any way, does it?

    Also, this effect is an average effect. It doesn’t mean there might not be individual batters who really need protection. It may simply be that some batters are made worse by protection because they swing at more marginal pitches, because those are the pitches they get. But of course to figure out exactly who is helped and who is hurt is a different question from the general proposition — that protection always helps.

  28. Well said JonathanF. I remember that Tom Tango study. I am impressed you had the patience to write and explain all of that. You’re a better man than me.

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