I’m sure you’re already aware of the incredible whipping the Braves just put on the Mets in the last three games. The Bravos swept the series, outscoring them 22-2, and taking the division lead by a game and a half. Today was the Julio Teheran show. Six days ago we were wondering if his career may be close to over. Today we hung on every pitch following his very real shot at a no hitter. He took the no-no into the 7th, and Biddle and Fried finished the shutout. Teheran is figuring out how to pitch with a fastball in the high 80’s, occasionally reaching 91. He won’t have results like today very often, but the Julio we saw today can be successful. At the plate, Teheran had as many hits as he gave up; he went 2 for 2 with an rbi on a sac fly and a sac bunt.
And oh yeah, the offense was explosive once again, with 11 runs on 15 hits, including dingers from Markakis, Suzuki, Albies, and Acuña. Ronald’s went about 600 feet with an exit velocity of 200 mph.
We got three dominating performances by starting pitchers in this series. I don’t know whether Mike “Strike Whisperer” Soroka will stay with the big club. I think he’s earned it based on Tuesday’s start, but his effect on the rest of the staff is just as important.
Throughout this afternoon’s game, I was driving on a long road trip. For the first time in years, my only source of information about a Braves game during the game was the radio. Even when I listen to the radio broadcast (which I do a fair amount—I’m a fan of Jim Powell), I have my iPhone or a computer with me, on which I check the gamecast and box score regularly. If I tune out for a few minutes, I go back and catch up on what I missed. And I usually track the comments on Braves Journal throughout the game. As much as I was tempted to look at my phone while I was driving, I resisted the temptation. At one point, I think about the 6th inning when the no hitter possibility was starting to become real, I was really wondering how many pitches Julio had thrown. I almost reached for my phone to sneak a peek. As there were several 18 wheelers surrounding me on I-95, I kept my hands off the phone. Fortunately, Powell almost immediately commented on how efficient Julio had been, and that he had only thrown 67 pitches. Thanks, Jim—you may have saved my life.
Really listening to the radio—and not having any other source of information– took me back to my childhood. For the first 12-15 years of my Braves fandom, the radio was the only way to follow a game in real time. I wouldn’t trade the information accessibility we have 21st century, but I can get quite nostalgic about the radio days of the 1960’s. Rob has often pointed out parallels between this year’s young and promising squad and the magical 1991 team, and Jonathan F each week tells us what was going on in 1966, the first Atlanta season. Today, listening to the radio brought back strong memories of the 1969 season. That team wasn’t predicted to win the division, but they got off to a strong start. After 30 games they were 21-9 and had a 3 game lead. They played about .500 ball from that point until the end of August, at which point they were 3 games out, but a strong September led to clinching the pennant the final weekend.
Be careful about strong starts. The 1970 team was 18-12 after 30 games; they finished the season with 76 wins. You probably remember the 2014 team; they started 17-7 and finished with 79 wins.
But I choose to believe in this team. The young talent is as exciting as any I’ve seen in all my years of following the Braves.
Friday, at home against the Giants, we’ll see if Folty is also under the sway of the Strike Whisperer. If so, look for another dominating start.