We all know that with changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same. But this Braves team continues to perform at a consistently great level. Friday night in LA, our Hammers defeated the Dodgers for the second night in a row, running their season record to 89-45; they are on pace to set the all-time franchise record for wins in a season. Their lead over the Dodgers for the best record in the league—and in MLB—is up to six games.

Once again, the Braves jumped on the Dodgers early, building a 5-0 lead through five innings. That’s the point at which I gave up the ghost and fell asleep. That’s two West Coast Friday night recaps in a row for me. I stayed awake (if not alert) to the end last week, but there is only so much I can do. They built that lead behind solo homers from Travis d’Arnaud, Ronald Acuña, Jr., and Marcell Ozuna. That’s number 10 for Travis, giving the Braves 10 players with double digit dingers. That’s number 31 for Ronald, breaking (not for the last time, I’m sure) his record for homers by a guy with 60 steals (and many other records as JonathanF can tell us). And that’s 32 for Marcell, who had three hits and has pushed his season OPS to .887. Nobody knows better than Ozuna that nothing remains quite the same, although his remarkable turnaround from a horrid April continues unabated.

The Braves added a couple more in the fifth to push the lead to 5-0. The inning included a double by Ronald, an infield single by Ozzie, a steal of third by RAJ (as Urias through behind him at second), a double by Riley, and a bloop rbi single by Ozuna.

Manwhile, Might Max, our own Varsity Fried, showed why he is still our Ace. Fried was masterful, shutting them out through seven, with ten K’s and only three hits. He has been the best pitcher in baseball since 2020.

The Braves tacked on one more in the eighth. That inning began Ozuna double, TDA single, Rosario rbi single, Arcia single to load the bases with no outs. But a Michael Harris strikeout and an Acuña GIDP meant only one run scored after that promising start. Still, it was 6-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

In the bottom of the eighth Snit turned to Pierce Johnson, who has been practically unhittable since AA acquired him at the deadline. He had his first bad outing as a Brave, surrendering a 3 run shot to Kolten Wong in the 8th, bringing the Dodgers within three. Even more frightening, Johnson gave up a walk and a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. Fortunately, Gulf of Tonkin came in to strike out Chris Taylor to end the threat. Kirby Yates shut them down in an uneventful ninth for the save. Iggy was unavailable having pitched in the previous three games.

Like you, I had no idea Wong was now a Dodger. But Dave Roberts proved his genius once again. Wong was pinch hitting for a guy named Freeman, who was only one for three on the night up to that point, allowing his OPS to drop below 1.000, to .997. Roberts must have known that Wong gave them a better chance to come back than this slumping Freeman guy.

Seriously, have y’all ever seen anything like what Roberts did in the 8th? He pinch hit for both Mookie and Freddie in that inning. True, the Braves led 6-0 at that point and had a win probability of about 99%. I guess he was resting them in a hopeless cause. I’d like to know what folks think about that strategy. I know this game doesn’t mean a whole lot for the final standings, and the likelihood of a comeback was small, but it struck me as very odd. And when they closed the gap to three runs, and then brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth, I imagine a lot of folks could second guess that decision. With two outs in the ninth, Mookie would have been on deck as the potential tying run if Heyward had reached. Yates struck out Jason to end the game, to make that academic.


Nothing remains quite the same, but some folks are pretty consistent. We have a few commenters on this board who seem to derive great satisfaction from complaining about our bullpen. If that helps them cope with the occasional bullpen lapse, bless ‘em, but it is still a fact that the Braves’ bullpen is as strong and as deep as any in the league.

And with Fried back healthy and rounding into pitching shape, the Braves’ rotation is the best. No one has a one two punch like Fried and Strider, and if the recent version of Charlie Morton continues, that’s a killer top three.

As to the offense, what more can be said? How about this one fact: the team slugging percentage is now .501. No team has ever done that for a season. This is the deepest and best lineup I have ever seen, with the possible exception of the Big Red Machine of 1975 and 76—and that’s close. And this Braves’ rotation is stronger than that of those Reds.


But you know, yesterday’s over our shoulder, and we can’t look back for too long. There’s too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that they just can’t go wrong.

Jimmy Buffett was right about life. As to baseball, as good as our Braves are right now, anything could go wrong. There will be October baseball for us, and that’s the best kind, but we also know that it’s a crapshoot. Still, I like these Braves and their chances.

As Jimmy would advise us, we should relish this moment. We may never see another team like this one.

RIP Jimmy Buffett.