Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

Scarred, but smarter.

01 Oct

Braves 8, Marlins 5

Fin, fin, fin.

The lights come up on another season of Braves baseball, and the audience leaves to a happy ending – in the sense that “Titanic,” let’s say, had a happy ending. The Braves break a 6 game losing streak to finish at 72 – 90.

Kurt Suzuki‘s 19th home run of the season opened the Braves scoring in the 2nd; Freddie Freeman followed Suzuki’s 2 run shot with a triple, and scored on a Nick Markakis ground out to stake Max Fried to a 3 – 0 lead.  Fried was sharp through 4 innings, allowing 2 hits and a walk, and striking out 7. However, 4 singles and a Dansby Swanson throwing error led to 4 Marlins runs in the 5th. Fried was charged with 2 earned and 2 unearned, and left after 4 and 1/3.

After the similarly blown lead on Friday and the blowout on Saturday, this series seemed destined to become the Mother Of All Barves, but Swanson singled and scored in the 6th to tie the game at 4, and his RBI single in the 7th gave the Braves the lead.  Adonis Garcia followed Dansby in the 7th with a pinch hit 3 run home run to break the game open.

Swanson went 2- 5 to finish at .232. Here’s what I wrote about him in May: .151

Marcell Ozuna homered in the bottom of the 7th off of Jim Johnson, making the game just close enough for Arodys Vizcaino to be eligible to pick up his 14th save.  Giancarlo Stanton singled twice and finished the season with 59 home runs; Ichiro Suzuki flied out in his attempt to tie the MLB record for pinch hits in a season.

The Phillies come to town March 29th.

The 5th funniest thing I ever heard about Miami:

30 Sep

‘It’s only Make Believe’. Would it were……… Fish 10 Braves 2


As things turned out the midnight recap target will be comfortably met, there being no need for many words to tell the tale of tonight’s proceedings.

Let’s start with the bottom of the first, first pitch from Sims to Dee Gordon got past Freddie and they were off to the races. 32 pitches later Sims closed out the innings down five runs. He would last only one more.

And that effectively was that.  Unlike last night when had a similar lead and sat on it Miami kept piling on and ended with double that total. We could nothing against their supposedly weak pitching and ended with just 2 late runs. Our pitching was universally awful with the short exception of JJ who came back to life pitching a clean 6th including striking out Stanton who did not get his 60th homer. Gordon though did match Ender with his 200th hit.

The last two weeks have been nightmarish, tonight was no exception. One fears for tomorrow. We have a lot of tired players but then so doesn’t everybody. With hindsight Freddie should have stayed home this road trip though doubtless he said no.

That’s it then. No Saturday/Saturday triumphalism tonight. With thanks for indulging my ramblings, I have very much enjoyed writing for y’all.

29 Sep

Miami 6, Atlanta 5

Well, like this year, tonight’s game started off with promise, but faded quickly into a disappointing end.

Atlanta jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead with 4 in the 1st, bookended by home runs by Ozzie Albies and a 3 run shot by Lane Adams. In the 2nd, Kirt Suzuki doubled in Albies. After that, Hibernation Mode set in with a vengenance.

But it seemed like it wouldn’t matter, as Luiz Gohara was cruising. The only marks against him were a one out double in the 3rd and a one out walk in the 4th, to set against 3 punch outs.

However in the 6th, the marlins finally got to Gohara. With one out, Dee Gordon managed a weakly hit infield single, followed by a non-weakly hit Giancarlo Stanton double to left center. Marcel Ozuna doubled them both home to cut the lead to 3 runs. In the 7th, Miami took the lead after Tyler Moore led off with a double, and Gohara walked Miguel Rojas. Tomas Telis singled to load the bases, and Dan Winkler came in and got Stanton to ground weakly to third, but no play was possible as Moore scored. Ozuna singled in another run, but the tying run was thrown out at home. Sam Freeman came in for the lefty-lefty matchup vs. Justin Bour, but on a 2-2 pitch, Bour drove in the tying and go ahead run.

Atlanta threatened in both the 8th and 9th, but double plays by Tyler Flowers and matt Kemp squelched any threat.

So, another year of recaps are done. Thanks to tfloyd who pinch-hit for me earlier this year when I was recovering. Go Braves, and Justin “The Young Ryan Howard” Bour delenda est.

29 Sep

Fish 7, Barves 1

I would apologize for the tardiness of this recap of last night’s game, but I’m not sure anyone has noticed. We here at Braves Journal appear to have lost interest in this season before the actual end. Mercifully for all concerned, the end is indeed nigh.

What happened last night? Anemic offense against a pitcher who made his major league debut this month and was seeking his first ML win. The Braves managed just two hits and no runs against said Dillon Peters. They only got one aditional hit against the bullpen, but fortunately that was a solo dinger by Lane Adams (he’s been a fun story). On the mound, Teheran was the 2017 version of himself, even though he was pitching on the road. He wasn’t terrible, but he certainly wasn’t close to good, giving up 5 runs in 6 innings (on 8 hits and 3 walks). Some guy named Stanton hit a couple of homers for the fish; he looks pretty good.

The Braves had a chance to finish second in the division had they swept this final 4 game homestand against the Marlins. Now, even that can’t happen. What’s left to see? If you care, you can see Gohara, Sims, and Fried each get one more start to close the season and make their case for next year. But as for me and my house, our attention this weekend will be focused on Knoxville. Go Dawgs.

And still and always, Natsos Delenda Est.

28 Sep

Muts 7, Barves 1

I didn’t watch this game. Sean Newcomb put in his typical outing: 7 baserunners (4 of which were walks) in 5 IP with 7 K’s. Newcomb’s had a decent rookie campaign. 4.32 ERA, 4.19 FIP, and 1.3 fWAR in 100 IP and 19 GS. So he’s averaging a little over 5 IP per start, and he’s striking out a little over a batter an inning. But the 5 BB/9 is consistent with his 5.49 BB/9 in his minor league career. Bottom line: he will be a serviceable 5th starter and nothing more if his control doesn’t improve. At least for me, as a fan, his starts won’t be particularly enjoyable to watch. But that’s just this guy’s opinion.

The bullpen B-squad got their work in. Jason Motte and Matt Wisler both put in scoreless innings but with two walks apiece, and Gas Can Jim Johnson was hurt by a Freddie Freeman error to let a 3-run homer and run-scoring double to have four unearned runs come across. Whatever.

I would say that the only real developments happening on the offense front is the playing time being given to potential 2018 pieces. Lane Adams, Jace Peterson, and Rio Ruiz have been given lots of playing time to identify whether or not they factor into the team’s plans going forward. Other than that, it’s riding out the string.

The Braves were 12-15 on days I recapped, so I was neither good luck nor bad luck.

27 Sep

Braves 3, Mets 4

For the first 6+ innings of this game, it was the RA Dickey show (with Ender Inciarte picking up his 200th hit on the season for good measure). The Braves offense failed on beat up on Rafael Montero as much as they usually do, but Dickey‘s knuckleball was fluttering and keeping the Mets off balance. After giving up a couple of hits early in the game, Dickey retired 13 straight Mets hitters and gave every indication that the three runs the Braves had scored would be more than enough. There is speculation over whether or not Dickey will retire at the end of this year, and if that was his last MLB game, he was on his way to going out in style. His evening had shades of the 2012 Dickey, who had dominated the league on the way to picking up the Cy Young Award. The Mets could hardly make contact at all, while on the offensive side Dickey had picked up two sacrifice bunts and a single. His low pitch count offered a tantalizing opportunity for a complete game. The evening was shaping up to be a magical night in Flushing, one that movies are made of.

Then the 7th inning happened. Dickey retired his 13th-straight batter, then gave up a single and home run. Suddenly, the Mets had pulled within one run, and still had 8 outs left to play with. Dickey recovered to get the second out of the inning, but a triple to the next batter prompted a visit to the mound, and just like that, Dickey was out of the game. Dan Winkler relived him and got out of the inning with the lead in tact. A one-run lead, however, banished all of the happy feelings that had just been present three outs ago.

Try as they could, the Braves offense could not extend the lead any more. Sam Freeman gave up the tying run in the 8th, and the writing was on the wall. A.J. Minter came in to pitch the 9th, and could only record one out before giving up the game-winning hit. What started out as a magical evening ended with Cinderella’s coach turning back into a pumpkin, and her fancy gown becoming rags once more. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Someone mentioned this a week or two ago, but I thought it worth revisiting. It always felt to me like the Braves offense would stink it up after facing a knucklerballer; batters would be off stride and their timing would be thrown off. I can remember always groaning whenever I would see the Braves were facing Dickey or one of his kind, because I would mentally write off the Braves winning for the next few days. Why have we not seen the opposite of this this year, now that Dickey is pitching for the Braves? I can’t recall seeing an opposing team this season having a poor offense showing, where batters look so thrown off after watching soft tosses they day before. You would think his presence in the rotation would help boost the numbers of the guy who throws after him, but I don’t think there has been any sort of impact at all. Life is not fair.

Well, that’s a wrap for me for the 2017 season. Let’s do it again next year, only this time with a few more victories, perhaps?

I will now turn my attention to watching the annual Nationals postseason collapse. I am rooting for a three-games-and-out experience for them. I’d be content if they were to simply forfeit (maybe unhappy with the fact that they can’t host a beautiful-weather delay on the big stage?), or if the league disqualified them for any or all reasons. A girl can hope.

Natspos delenda est.

26 Sep

The deck of the battleship Missouri: Braves 9 Mets 2, then Braves 2, Mets 3

This is the last post for me this season. In a few days, baseball for the Braves is no more. So, I bring up the scene on the battleship Missouri. We are the delegation in top hats, come to surrender. What about the recaps:

Game 1

The man’s name is Lucas Sims. He was the primary key to game 1. 6 innings with no runs and a little bit of a wobble in the 7th and Winkler let 2 of Sims’ runners score. Two solid starts to finish the season. Is it a mirage or something real. Stay tuned.

Offense was provided by Ozzie with a solo homer in the 4th, and then 3 more in the 6th pushed it out and they didn’t stop piling on runs.

Game 2

This was mostly the Seth Lugo show. 6 innings (why not more, Terry Collins?), 7 K’s, no BB’s, 2 hits. He looked dominant. Max Fried struggled but some double plays bailed him out. The curve looks like Steve Avery‘s. The fastball is fast. There is definitely something to work with here. When Lugo came out it was 3 to 0 Mets. But the last 2 years, the Braves don’t roll over. They keep scrapping out at bats. They got 2 in the 9th before the rally fizzled out.

24 Sep

Phillies 2, Braves 0

Maikel Franco homered in the 5th off Luiz Gohara, the only oasis in what was otherwise 7 innings of a Gohara desert for the Phillies.

Luiz allowed 5 hits and 2 walks along with the run, and struck out 9.  The Phillies tacked on a run in the 8th against A.J. Minter.  The Braves made it interesting in the 9th with a couple of ground balls up the middle by Freddie Freeman and Kurt Suzuki, but around those singles, Hector Neris struck out 3.

Someone named Nick Pivetta went 6 innings for the Phillies, allowing 5 hits and a walk, and striking out 4.  Ender Inciarte had 3 hits, giving him 197 on the season.  The Freeze ran down Paul Byrd in the heavily promoted match race.

The Braves close their first season at SunTrust Park at 37 – 44, yet still stand 9 games in front of the Phloatin’ Phils after taking the series 2 games to 1.  Doubleheader Monday against the Mets; the first game starts at 4:10.

(Has anyone used Gohara desert yet?  If so, I apologize.)

The 3rd funniest thing I ever heard about Philadelphia:  Lasorda Vs. Phanatic

23 Sep

Aeolian Cadence? Mahler, M’Lud….. Braves 4 Phils 2

Not a Second Time, surely? There seemed no way our Freeman-less offense could surmount the early 2 run lead we had given up. Our chances of a second, back to back win against our nemesis Phils seemed remote. A cloud of inevitability was settling over our Park accompanied by a bundle of wasted scoring opportunities. Leaving the bases loaded at least twice, runners on third with one outs stranded etc. It wasn’t pretty, it became dull even, an old song we had heard so many times with the Phils  before over the season.

And then. Rio, who had a miserable evening early sitting on the Mendoza, striking out and making two poor plays at third, surprisingly got into one in the sixth and hit a solo homer to halve the deficit – we were alive. Poor Rio, he had not looked the same guy who took Lester out at Wrigley into a strong headwind. But here he was.

Julio had pitched a great game and departed after 7 in some style. Somehow, with 2 out, the bases had loaded themselves and Snit came out looking exhausted after apparently vacuuming his new house. There was the predictable will he/won’t he leave him in moment, to his credit he did and Julio only took one pitch, his 102nd, to reward his confidence.

Into the 8th we struck. Got 2 on in scoring position but with 2  out, Dansby had driven in the tying run.. My man Camargo came on to pinch hit, from his weak left side, and quickly had two strikes on him . He then went down inches off the ground and cracked a line drive double, his 21st, that effectively won the game as Vizzy cleaned up.Wow. An aside while we’re here. No more sabermetricians please telling us they can’t take this guy seriously as a Major Leaguer because his minor league numbers were so anemic. HE’S NOT IN THE MINOR LEAGUES ANY MORE. As we grow into manhood judge us by our contemporaries at whatever stage we and they have then reached. The past is irrelevant.And then BABIP. Oh Dear. He keeps on being so lucky, doesn’t he? Yes, if you call it luck he hits so many balls so hard on a line that outfielders tend to have to go laterally to the ball or it is past to the wall. His winning hit tonight exemplified that. For pure line drive hitters BABIP is BS. Shoot me.

I’ll tell you what bothers me about Camargo – I believe over 162 games he would be a significantly more productive short stop than Dans and that thought upsets me. At least, if you insist on ‘bringing in’ a proven 3rd basement you are almost bound to have him at short it would seem to me. He can’t sit on the bench.Don’t let’s be half ass about it.

Some bits and pieces.

Ozzie made yet another poor throw under pressure to a base to try and out a runner, this time to home plate from a distance just outside the second bag. It was weak and five feet down the first base line, no chance to get the runner. This now seems to be happening every time, work needs to be done on this specific in the winter (I typed that as minter, Ha!) On his plus side it was good to see him respond with the bat late when he could hit from the right side and hit the ball hard twice.

Dansby’s been struggling going back to hitting everything into the ground but tonight, when it mattered, he elevated to line drive to the off field which were crucial to our comeback. Good on him.

Ender is scrapping hard for 200. My money’s on him.

Flowers    2 hits and a passed ball for their second run. So pleased about Kurt coming back but have quite forgotten – knucklers apart, who’s the better defensive catcher?

Freddie       get well soon

The Adams family     Matt, almost, twice.  Lane, more and more a pinch hitter.


So good night. Stay on if you can or come back and learn something about a song that helped turn the world round when a newspaper article came out 56 years ago in the dry and stuffy, but venerated  by the Establishment, Times of London. It has brightened my life and a few others and you may not know of it. Cheers.


How about the guy on the Rickenbacker??!! He did a job, didn’t he.


Here’s the original article.

23 Sep

Atlanta 7, Philadelphia 2

Didn’t I just recap this exact same game last week? Sean Newcomb goes 5 1/3 alternately great and frustrating innings? Check. Dan Winkler comes in with men on in the 6th to bail out Newk? The pen shuts down the opponent? Sam Freeman wiggles out of trouble in the 8th? Check, check, and check.

OK, so the offense jumped all over the Phillies starter, Ben Lively. Double by Ender Inciarte. Singled home by Ozzie Albies. Freddie Freeman double. 2 run single by Nick Markakis. 2 run yickety from Kurt Suzuki. Just like that, 5-0 after 15 pitches. Johan Carmago added a single after Suzuki’s shot, but was erased on a niftily turned DP.

Atlanta added a run in the second, when Newcomb worked a walk, and was eventually driven in by Markakis. Always fun to see your clean-up hitter, in the second inning, have a 2-2 line with 3 RBI.

Philly managed to get one run back in the 4th. Cesar Hernandez led off with a double, and was eventually driven in by a Nick Williams sac fly. In the 6th, Williams singled in another run, and Newcomb left with men on first and second. Winkler came in, and got Rhys Hoskins to fly out and struck out Aaron Altherr to end the threat.

Suzuki finished up the scoring with his second dimger of the night, his 18th of the season. Show of hands, who had the Braves catchers with 29 HR and 94 RBI? Anyone? Bueller?

Anyhow, the Braves surpassed last year’s win total, and, for one night at least, slew the Philadelphia dragon. Now, let’s keep it going.

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