Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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24 Jul

Wait ’til next year (by coop)

Wait ’til next year, or maybe the year after.

This game ended early. The Braves threatened in the first but ran themselves out of any scoring opportunity. Then Nolan Arenado ended it.

He had help. A single and a walk and one pitch to Arenado netted three runs. We could have called the game then, but the Rockies face a tough road trip and insisted on kicking our Brave Butts while we’re down. Ten batters hit in the first, even though Colorado managed only one more run off Tyrell Jenkins. Throwing 40 pitches in the first is never a good thing.

Tyler Chatwood tried to get us back in the game, walking everyone who’d let him; but AJP couldn’t bloop one over Trevor Story, Tyrell couldn’t get a bunt down and Jace Peterson struck out in a truly forgettable at bat. It took Chatwood right at half a hundred pitches to get through two innings, but zeroes were all the Braves put up. Pitiful.

Tyrell got ’em out without incident in the second, although he did walk his fourth Rockie in two innings, also not a good idea in Coors Field. Chatwood only walked one in the third, so Jenkins and his fellow clowns only trailed four-zip heading into the bottom of the frame.

Jenkins issued his fifth walk and gave up a double but no runs in the third, and the futile Braves offense again failed miserably. How in the heck they couldn’t score against Chatwood is a mystery. I mean, he walked Erick Aybad twice — TWICE! — in four innings.

DJ LeMahieu homered to lead off the Rockies fourth. Arenado followed with a double, and Story poked his fourth home run of the series. That kid can play. Rockies 7, Braves 0, Tyrell gone.

Joel De La Cruz restored order, getting the five batters he faced without incident. The horse was stolen, but play continued. In the fifth Chatwood sandwiched
Freddie Freeman’s second strikeout between his seventh and eighth walks. Again the Bozos didn’t score. Through five, Chatwood allowed only a single — Freddie didn’t strike out that at bat — and walked eight.

The Braves did score. Two runs were less than enough, but nobody got hurt. That’s something. Erick Aybar got two hits and two walks in his perfect day. That’s something else.

Final score was 7-2, as our Braves continue their march to the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. Big series with our closest competitors begins Tuesday. Come on, Braves: let’s get swept by the Twinkies.

24 Jul

The Dandy Deke / That old love Story…Rockies 8 Braves 4

We sorta know the way these games go lately. A decent start, a run or two. We give up a couple but our man is pitching decently against a vastly superior line up . A 47 minute rain delay. We even take a one run lead on the restart which is nice but, even better, we hold it going into the sixth. Wisler could get the win for Pete’s sake. And then.

The barrage began slowly, inexorably as we tried to go through that daunting middle order. There was a walk, the second one to score to this point and then the floodgates opened and Wisler departed with only one out. On came Kroll who was pathetic and didn’t look bothered by it. Walked two of the three he faced. Five runs had scored when Cabrera came on and comprehensively flattened the detritus. Something  we can do that they can’t.

Midst this carnage of an innings though, there came a jewel. To brighten, lighten the load of what now was  surely heading for another loss. A deke, a veritable deke. By a Brave, our man Ender who we all know never makes a mistake going back on a ball.

Well, he did.  Apparently. He looked to misjudge where a deep line drive was settling, stopped whilie it went over his head and rebounded back to him off the wall. Let me admit, likely with no company here, he fooled me. But not Uncle Joe who gleefully replayed it thus showing a base runner similarly fooled who failed to advance another base. Watching it over, now enlightened, was a joy, special. If he could only hit.

Braves threatened in the top of the eighth but could only score one run when they had brought the tying run to the plate with just one out. Story rubbed it in with yet another homer in the bottom of the innings, 5 Rbi’s. This off JJ who gave a passable imitation of a right handed Kroll regarding quality and interest.

The game ended, appropriately, with Story starting a double play.

Sic transit euphoria. The ones that we do lead, latish, we somehow know won’t end well. Why? Well, we all know why.

But that deke will live in the memory.

 

23 Jul

Colorado 4, Atlanta 3

Well, this game was a perfect example of why you can’t have your best starter leave after four
innings and expect to win.

The Braves jumped out to a 1-0 lead, when Freddie Freeman tripled and scored on a Nick Markakos
single that looks like a line drive in my box score at least.

Julio Teheran pitched four innings of shutout ball, but left after the first pitch of the fifth, when Mark
Reynolds hit a little dribbler in No Man’s Land between the mound, third, and short. Jukio lunged for
the ball, but missed. After summoning the trainer, Julio took one practice pitch and left the game.
Reports indicate he has some tightness in his right lat. He is currently listed as day-to-day.

Joel De La Cruz came on to relieve Julio, and managed to escape the fifth without further damage,
thanks to a pick off of Reynolds, the second of the game for Atlanta, with Teheran nabbing Charlie
Blackmon in the first. However, a lead off walk to DJ LeMahieu was follwed by a Nolan Arrenado
homer. That brought in Dario Alvarez, who surrended a Coors Field bloop single because Ender
Inciarte is only human and couldn’t run it down, follwed by a Trevor Story jack. And, that was all
Colorado starter John Gray needed.

Gray went 7 innings, and continued his dominance of Atlanta, striking out 8 while giving up just 1
walk and six hits. Jace Peterson hit a two run homer of his own in the 8th for the final margin.

22 Jul

Rockies 7, Bad Team is Bad

I didn’t watch this game and I’m not sorry. The Braves dropped their third game to the Rockies in less than a week — the Rockies, a franchise that hasn’t finished above .500 in six years and which recently traded Troy Tulowitzki for Jose Reyes. The Rockies are a bad, bad team. Over the last week, they’ve gone 3-1 against the Braves while outscoring them 22 to 9.

So, last night, in the game I didn’t watch, Mike Foltynewicz struggled with his control and the homer bug, Aybad committed a truly devastating interference that led to two “unearned” runs being charged to Mauricio Cabrera, and the bats were largely silent, other than a two-hit night from Ender Inciarte (his 15th multihit game in a Braves uniform) and a pinch-hit RBI double by Anthony Recker, who I’m ready to have as the starting catcher.

Here’s what happened on that interference call: there was a groundball single to left, and Aybar was moving toward it, then slowed his jog as it went past him, not realizing that he was directly in the basepath as a runner from second was heading towards home. So instead of that runner being called out on a nice throw by Jace Peterson (playing left field rather nicely but going 0-5 as the leadoff man), he was declared safe and the Rockies had a fourth out in the inning. Not only have his skills eroded; so, apparently, have his instincts.

Aybar delenda est.

20 Jul

Reds 6, Flying Idiots 3

The Braves are not good.

They lost today on the heels of starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, who is 31 years old. Ian Krol gave up 2 runs in relief, and surprisingly, Eric O’Flaherty actually pitched a scoreless inning. Good for that guy.

We actually hit a couple elusive home runs: both Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia went deep.

Whatever. We go to Colorado, where we’ll see Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, and Matt Wisler, in that order.

In other news, we’re seeing some trade movement in MLB. Per Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are sending Dan Vogelbach and some change for Mike Montgomery and some change. The Cubs have been willing to trade young hitters for relief pitching, which the Braves could provide.

The Indians are rumored to be in talks for Jonathan Lucroy. The Tribe lost their starting catcher, Yan Gomes, to injury, so they may go after Lucroy. I’m a little skeptical of the Braves being interested in a 30 year old catcher not signed past 2017, but we shall see.

Aybar delenda est.

19 Jul

Braves 5, Reds 4

Ah, Cincy, a southern city accidentally placed on the northern banks of the Ohio River, whose primary claims to fame are the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati and not being Cleveland. I hate baseball games there, since it can turn even a hitter without any pop whatsoever into Hank Aaron. It adds an extra layer of anxiety to a ballgame not found anywhere else this side of Philadelphia. Even after it’s over you don’t actually feel like it’s over. I can only say with 82% certainty the Braves won this game.

The two teams exchanged two-run innings in the bottom of the first and top of the second, and this game projected to be one of those bandbox games where a bajillion runs would score and the team that batted last would win. Suddenly, though, both Tyrell Jenkins and Cody Reed, whose combined ages just barely add up to A.J. Pierzynski‘s age (I kid, but he was in the big leagues when they were both 5, so it’s not that far off), settled down and gave their team six innings of pretty good ball. The Braves finally broke through again in the 7th when Gordon Beckham hit a two-run home run to put the Braves on top.

Jim Johnson tried to close the game out in the 9th and failed spectacularly, giving up the tying runs and four hits before being pulled with two outs in the inning. He is not the Johnson he was last year.

Although they were infused with new life, the Reds could not finish the job and allowed the Braves to plate the winning run in the 11th on a sacrifice fly. You can’t predict ball.

A win for Jenkins on the eve of his birthday would have been fun, but winning a game in Cincy in any fashion is nice. It would be nicer if these games actually mattered, but it is still nice nonetheless.

Aybar delenda est. Like, yesterday. Please. Someone. Anyone. We’re begging over here. And starting to get a little desperate. Aybar delenda est.

19 Jul

Keeping the Faith: Braves 2, Reds 8

There are two connections to this flick. The first is the broad theme represented in the title: that we as Braves fans are challenged to keep the faith. We are CHALLENGED to keep the faith. Like, this is one *#%..@% challenge.

But beyond that, Matt Wisler played the part of Alan Klein, the Bar Mitzvah trainee. I couldn’t find the exact quote, so you are going to have to accept a little paraphrasing. But basically, Ben Stiller’s rabbi says to Alan, “Don’t you understand, God is calling you a chump and you have to show him you aren’t a chump.” Well, Coppy called Wisler a chump, and it didn’t seem to bring out the moxie in him. Quite to the contrary, he got his butt kicked.

Fourth inning lead on back to back doubles by Adonis Garcia and Jeff Francoeur. Adonis with a lot of hustle and a dive to get in in front of the tag (well, actually, the ball wasn’t caught, but Adonis had it beat by about a foot if it was caught cleanly). Early Braves lead.

But, “chumpery” had its way as Wisler gave up 3 homeruns in the bottom of the fourth to put it at 5 to 1. Thereafter, the ultimate outcome never seemed in doubt.

Adonis fought. He later hit a solo home run. Everybody else said “Meh.”

17 Jul

Braves 1, Rockies 0 (by coop)

Good pitching beat good hitting today. Julio Teheran and almost the entire Atlanta bullpen shut down Colorado’s vaunted hitters, and Chase d’Arnaud’s third single chased home the game’s only run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Atlanta’s offense was stymied by Jon Gray through seven, and it looked like the game would go on forever until d’Arnaud ended it. Freddie Freeman and Frenchy struck out seven times in the game. Evidently the doctor excised not only Freddie’s mole but also his bat. Nevertheless our Braves salvaged the last game to avoid a Rockies’ sweep.

Game balls go to Julio and Chase, but let’s score some runs tomorrow.

16 Jul

Ball to Glove to Ground…Many get Away..Braves 3 Rockies 4

The first pitch of tonight’s game featured a high nineties fastball from Folty that was  RDBM into AJ’s waiting glove. He didn’t have to move it an inch.He dropped it.

More of that was to come, from many a Brave, and so a magnificent 7 innings of finely wrought mayhem was wasted. He controlled his pitches better than his emotions in the 8th when things started to unravel with a horrible call but it was heartening to watch what had gone before. He even drove in an ‘insurance’ run late to pad AJ’s early 2 run homer into a 3/0  lead. Not enough as it turned out as we dribbled/ booted/wild pitched/threw away/  pass balled/misplayed balls like the Keystone Cops – except it wasn’t funny. RDBM? In these instances, no. Freddy even misplayed a not entirely unreasonable throw with his nose – perhaps he had seen too much, lost trust in the leather. It was a big play.

Colorado were 0 and 43 in games where they came into the seventh innings behind. Chip said so, twice.No more.

There is one other reason we lost tonight which had nothing to do with defense. Blind draw one name at random from your current 9 who must then come to the plate in a late high pressure situation. Or two. Or three. For the Rockies the odds would be good at least 2 and maybe all 3 you could legitimately call ‘hitters’. For the Braves? Maybe one.So when trouble struck in the eighth, the  lead then evaporated and almost immediately we were behind one run going into the bottom of the ninth what did we think was going/not going to happen? And it did/didn’t.

Never mind. We must remind ourselves of the hackneyed truism that W/L records for us right now mean much less for the future than the kind of performance Folty put on today. Against an outstanding hitting team he went into the 8th giving up only one legitimate hit and that to a guy leading the league in average. Awesome, exciting.And back to back.

 

16 Jul

Colorado 11, Atlanta 2

Lucas Harrell turned back into a pumpkin, and the Barves, after a good weekend last weekend in
Chicago, played like they have most of the season – badly – and fell to Colorado 11-2. Not much went
right, so we can mark off one more day until a possible September 1 call up of some guys who might
actually be good at baseball.

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