The prestaging for the postseason continued. As of last night, the Braves have clinched the home field advantage through the NL playoffs. The magic number to have World Series home field advantage is now 1. So unless the Braves lose the last 4 and the Orioles win their last 4, we add that (however slight) advantage. All in all, a pretty good “Winsday.”
The last two nights it seemed as if the offense said “hmm, the starting pitching is craps and scraps, so we better keep it going.” One issue in early clinching is if the team lets up and can’t get it going again. This offense seems to have taken a breath, and then put it right back together.
Many new words are created by technology. Sometimes, older words become more fashionable or amenable to the broad masses. In recent years, one that emerged from somewhere was “penultimate.” I had thought the ultimate pen was the Cincinnati Reds “Nasty Boys” or the 2002 Braves. Such a word which has become common on Braves Journal is “cromulent.” This means acceptable or adequate.” For this set of Braves to get through this remaining season, the level of starting pitching we need is more like “just not damn awful.” Last night, Darius Vines probably met “cromulent” but certainly exceeded “just not damn awful.”
The line of the Vines was 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER (and we will talk about the one unearned run a little more), 5 K, 2 BB, 90 pitches with 55 for strikes. In analyzing this performance against “adequate” and “acceptable”, with this offense, that is pretty good. In fact, it is one EARNED run better than a “minimal quality start.” So, thanks to Darius and looking for continued success for him.
As to the UNEARNED run, this is apparently one of the great umpire fails of the replay era. Part of the reason is that it was a “non reviewable” situation. Did the bat hit the ball (foul ball) or was it a swinging strike with a catcher miss (passed ball). I think it is a situation where the other 3 umpires were more worried about not getting shown up on their mistakes than getting the call correct. But the first Cubs run probably doesn’t score without that umpire screw up.
The remaining 4 innings (that is right, one inning of “free baseball”) were handled by Michael Tonkin (2IP,10 H, 0 BB, 3 K, hooray that there wasn’t an “Incident”), Kirby Yates (who gave up 1 in an inning to turn a tie into a “trail”), and Jesse (how do we love thee, let us count the ways) Chavez who got a win for only allowing the Manfred Man to score in top of 10.
The offense got 1 in the first “as is its custom.” But then it got to 3 to 1 Cubs before the Braves bats started the frightening sequence. In 7, the Braves almost got it going and got one on a probable double play in which Nico Hoerner tried to flip with the glove and missed Dansby Swanson. that only scored 1. Then Ronald Acuna, Jr. got a one out single in 8, stole second base (for number 69) and Ozzie Albies singled him home. That tied is up at 3, but not for long. Then, in 9, Yates gave up one and then in the bottom Marcel Ozuna earned the beer joint by homering to tie the game and send it to the 10th.
As aforesaid, Chavez couldn’t stop the Manfred Man, but Acuna then singled in our Manfred Man, stole second (number 70 as in 40 / 70) an, Ozzie drove him in with a single to win it and walk it off,
So, little to play for except not getting people hurt, getting people well, getting people a little rest without letting them get rusty, and figuring out which pitchers to take on the postseason roster.