I know it is not about me. It is about the Braves and “the Nation.” However, I was awfully glad I didn’t have Tuesday recaps. First, I was at work and barely checking GameCast. Second, I am tired of getting losses. Third, I was too busy at work to do a recap (still true today, but it is all about the positive vibes).
Zack Wheeler is a man known to John Shaft. He is a “bad…shut yo mouth.” Except for a possible inning or two in Game 5, Braves are VERY unlikely to see him again, and that is fine with me.
For most of this game, it was the late 60’s all over again. Gibson v. Lolich. Well, maybe “near Gibson versus thin Lolich.” On the Official Braves site, their ERA calculation in the box score has been reset to postseason only. There is a 2.19 by Wheeler. That was pretty good in the late 60’s. That is very good now. But all of Wheeler’s run baggage happened last night. Meanwhile, Wright, 0.00, Minter 0.00, Iglesias 0.00, and Jansen 0.00. And no unearned (or “unearned”) runs. When they get zero you have to like your chances.
Through 5 innings, Wheeler was a little better than Wright in results. Although, there was a slightly visible potential flaw. I thought somebody on our thread last night mentioned this, but I can’t find it. Anyhow, before the 6th inning rally, the Braves had 5 “barrels” against Wheeler. Wheeler was challenging with hard fastballs and there is a risk to that. But Wright was really good.
To end the 6th, Dansby made a back to the infield diving catch in no man’s land in short left center. It was far enough left and in that the Most Excellent Mr. Michael Harris, II couldn’t get there. Neither could the sometimes fielding challenged Eddie Rosario. So, it was “do or die.” Dansby made one of the 10 best postseason fielding plays ever by the Braves. It dropped a spot in those rankings in a couple of innings, but that is not a BAD thing, that is a GOOD thing.
So, still a nothing nothing game. Then, Ozuna struck out and Rosario hit a hard liner to center (one of those “barrels” that is supposed to contribute to scoring). Two outs. And then, the baseball magnet that is Ronald Acuna, Jr. gets hit on the inside of his right elbow. Is Don Mattingly assisting Philly in this postseason? After SEVERAL minutes of agony and treatment, Acuna stayed in to run. I figured he would be out after that, but he finished. Hopefully we dodged one there. Did the long delay rattle Wheeler. Maybe. But that was the first of 5 runners to reach base safely in a row. Up until the hit by pitch, Wheeler had given up 1 hit and no walks. Dansby walked. Olson hit a hard hit ball to Rhys Hoskins’ right that was playable. As A-Rod said, at least he should have blocked it or knocked it down. Acuna came flying around and there it was, a lead. But no, it was not over. Austin Riley smashed one down in front of the plate and Wheeler had to go to within 10 feet of the line to get to it and by the time he picked it up, Dansby had scored and Riley was 10 feet from first. No throw. Then Travis D’Arnaud repeated a hit he had (against the Mets) where he stung it on the ground about 2 feet left of second base and Olson scored. That was it for the scoring. As in that was IT.
As to that fielding play, in the 8th, with one out and one on, Stott popped up down the right field line, foul, about half way the length of the tarp. Riley bumped into the tarp, continued his reach and lean, caught the ball, hit the tarp, and rolled off on the ground while maintaining control. THEN, he had presence of mind to bounce up ready to throw to second. These 2 fielding plays say a lot about talent and clutch and never say die. I feel good after last night’s adventures.
A day off and a restart in Philadelphia on Friday. The big question is if Strider is ready to go. If not, we see Charlie.
Nicely done Cliff. I’m sure you enjoyed that one as it made a pleasant change from your regular season gig
I love off days in the postseason. A day without stress and worry.
I went to sleep last night a half-inning before the Braves broke the game open, fully expecting to check the score this morning and see the Phillies won 2-0 in the 12th inning or something. So gratifying to see the game unfold the way it was SUPPOSED TO (ie, Phillies lose due to poor defense and/or roster depth). Our rally was comprised of a HBP, a walk, a grounder to 1B that could have been fielded, a 45 foot groundball by Riley toward 3B, and then a well placed (not particularly hard hit) grounder by D’Arnaud… basically, the kind of luck/timing that the Braves so sorely lacked in Game 1.
Also – it didn’t end up mattering, but I was pretty surprised that with 6 on-field umpires and a world’s worth of camera equipment in the stadium that Bryce Harper’s foul out to D’Arnaud (https://www.mlb.com/phillies/video/bryce-harper-s-at-bat-continues?t=replay-review) in the bottom of the 9th was wrongly called a foul ball off the netting and upheld on review. Thankfully for the Braves, Kenley was nails last night and it never looked like the Phillies had a shot against him.
As far as the remaining starting pitching for the Braves – the ideal would be Morton and Strider in Philly, then (if needed) Fried in Atlanta, right?
@3 I was wondering about game 5 as well. Let’s win games 3 and 4 and make it a moot point
I love Matt Olson, and he’s going to be a legend for Atlanta. But the dude is just not comfortable. Is this just who he is? Was he like this in Oakland? I’m just not sure I’m used to such a star being so… sheepish.
@3 the foul ball netting call most certainly seemed to be incorrect, but I think that call is impossible to overturn on replay. They simply don’t have the camera coverage to prove it conclusively. It would require a very specific camera angle to show a gap between the ball and the net for the entire 31.5 foot height of the net.
Of course, if it’s impossible to overturn, they should just make it unreviewable to prevent managers from wasting a review that they might be able to use later.
All I can say is… thank goodness for Madison Square Garden’s wi-fi last night.
I plopped my phone in the cup holder on the back of the seat in front of me & was good to go.
Perfectly timed, TDA smacked his single into CF for the 3-0 lead & Post Malone came onstage about 3 seconds afterward. Worry lessened, minor crisis averted…
That net call was awful.
Kenley Jansen and Matt Olson have had some ups and downs this year, in their first year with a new team after spending their whole careers in another organization. But they couldn’t have picked a better time to play their best ball.
I think Olson’s in a long category of shy stars. No big deal. Ronald and Ozzie have got charisma for days. Matt doesn’t have to be the public face of anything more than his own uniform number. I think he’s finally gotten to a place where he can just relax and perform.
Glad to see tweet-based proof that Strider was available to pitch last night. I have to wonder if the Braves still have some reservations about whether he’s ready to go 4 or 5 innings and that’s why they haven’t named starters for Games 3 -4. Feels like Morton is a lock for a start, the only question is the other game started by Odorizzi or Strider.
Personally, I’m hoping for a Strider start (100 MPH bullets!) followed by Chavez or McHugh throwing slow/bendy stuff to really frustrate the Phils hitters.
On the foul ball hitting or not hitting the netting. I don’t think this was the case, but what if the ball was going to hit the net, but Travis pushed it away?
Wouldn’t that be like pushing a fan’s glove out of the way? Probably kosher. Why not?
I’d prefer to see Strider well enough to start, sure; but if the club’s iffy on that, what about Strider being a multiple-middle-inning guy if Morton or Odorizzi falter?
That’s an interesting idea, though honestly I don’t trust Odorizzi to get anywhere near the mound. He’s in Tomlin territory for me right now.
I know that Strider’s health is of paramount importance, but I kind of feel like it’s important not to overthink this too much. If an extra day of rest would benefit his health, and he would do better to pitch in Game 4, then I’m all for holding him back. But if he’s ready to go, he is probably our single best pitcher right now. Let’s floor it.
On the net call, I think that if it were Aug. 8 the umpire would’ve made the out call and barely even thought twice about it. It’s the playoffs though, and he likely didn’t want to end the game on a call where he wasn’t 100 percent sure that the ball didn’t touch the net. I think they could’ve overturned it on replay, though. Seeing the trajectory the ball was coming down on, there’s virtually no way that it could’ve scraped the net.
On Strider, I don’t see why you wouldn’t start him. Even if you think he can only go three innings, start him anyway. Which game might depend on how long you think he can go, but I wouldn’t understand not starting him.
While Strider says he’s healthy and feels good, if something goes wrong with that oblique early on, then you’re looking at handing the ball to Odorizzi vs. Nola in Game 3 potentially, lest they get a bunch of innings out of Chavez and Stephens. Not ideal. Game 4 is looking like a bullpen game for the Phillies, which the whole Odorizzi element would not necessarily be as unfavorable. I think Morton is the safe pick for Game 3.
Morton is likely to give up 4 or 5 runs no matter when he pitches. I’d rather him face the Phils fourth starter. Him vs Nola feels non-optimal. To be fair, same could be said the other way for Fried/Suarez.
@16 I agree with krussell. Morton definitely needs to slide back.
I think Lee could cover some innings if he had to, before I’d use Odorizzi.
I don’t want to see Odorizzi start (or pitch) this series. With Strider is on the roster, he has to start, and preferably game 3. Normally I’d feel comfortable with Charlie in game 4, but it is a day-game get-away day, so we’re almost certain to lose…
funny, I feel like the Braves are going to absolutely beat the snot out of Philly this game
A lot of our pitching questions would be solved by scoring 10 runs.
I’m with oldtimer. I think the Braves are fixin’ to deal the Fillies a good old fashioned butt whoopin’.
The other pro-Strider argument is that our pen is as rested as it’s going to be, so we can cover things if he only goes 3 or 4. If the same situation were to happen tomorrow after a short Morton outing, we’d be in a pickle.
Snit’s been pretty coy about it. I feel like he’s leaning Morton still.
I think Strider will be used as an opener to only go an inning or 2, and then it turns into a bullpen game. Chavez, Lee, and McHugh could also be asked to go multiple innings. Odorizzi is a long reliever in case the Braves run out of pitchers in extra innings, or a mop up man.
I have a feeling Charlie will go today.
Edit: Justin Toscano just tweeted that Strider is starting.
I would venture to guess that just about every baseball person in the world puts more weight into Morton’s very impressive postseason resume than do us fans and laypeople.
On the one hand, he’s been there before and he’s highly unlikely to let the pressure of the stage get to him in a way that some inexperienced players do in their first taste of October. On the other hand, he’s not been himself lately, and it’s awfully hard for me to overcome the effect of recency in my mind. But I have to trust that the team has a whole lot better data than I do.
Ultimately, it comes down to his ability to execute, because that team can hit a lot of homers in that park if he starts throwing meatballs. If Spencer is healthy enough to be available, I’d like him in the top of the first. On the other hand, if the team thinks that Charlie has all his weapons and can turn back time, and that Spencer’s oblique would be thankful for another day of rest after all this rain, I’m willing to trust Snit and AA’s judgment.
Strider/Nola… prepare for another nut-cutter.
I wore my Strider tshirt today on faith. Let’s go!
Love it. Let’s go!
Really hope this is disinfo. If Strider only pitches 3 there’s almost no point, our pen will be burned and if we lose we’ll have to depend on Morton to not give up four home runs or whatever.
On the other hand, how bout we score 10+ runs in both of these games and make the pitching strategy irrelevant.
@31 I vote for the 10+ runs plan
Co-signed. L. F. G!!
HOLY SMOKING VAGINAS!!!
If Strider is feeling good and throwing well, let’s ride him. Make a plan, but don’t be married to it. Be willing to adjust it in game.
I think he will be able to throw 50 pitches. You also have to assume one of Morton or Fried would give you 6 innings in one of their starts left.
I feel like this is the right call. This is a must win for Philly. It is a “would really like to win” for us.
The Thumb has been part of Braves Pravda forever. In my fan-fic scenario, Strider has been fine the whole time, and they shut him early to make him ready for this moment. Oblique is just something you say when you need to go on the fake DL. He’s gonna go 7 today and strike out 17. Free mustache rides.
Starting Strider is a gamble, and it makes sense to take that gamble in game 3 rather than game 4.
If Strider is on a 50 pitch limit, all we’ll need from him is 5 immaculate innings. When we score 10+ runs, the bullpen should be able to take it from there.
I think if Strider can get through 4, McMintlesiasen can get us home. Though Snit would probably use Lee for the 5th so everybody just gets 1 inning.
I also, would like to be a card-carrying member of the “Let’s Score 10 and Roll On In” club. If its membership will have me.
@40 good point. Are there any membership requirements?
Snitker in his press conference says they’ll take Strider inning-by-inning and see how it plays out.
A new thread has been posted.
Forget 50 pitches; he’s going 9 innings!
Nola made Ozuna and Grissom look silly.
Again, using Ozuna over Contreras is a bad move.