It’s 11:36 PM on a chilly night in Dublin. (Ireland, not Georgia.) Your intrepid correspondent is in a somewhat dodgy hotel room directly upstairs from a bar where bad covers of “Sultans of Swing,” “Wonderwall,” and “Brown Eyed Girl” bounce off the double-decker buses and directly into the room where my bed tilts right to left about 5 degrees. Doesn’t sound like much tilt, but you’re constantly rolling back right to try and get to equilibrium.
Perfect night for a Braves game.
The Braves are 29-18, besting their original 1966 incarnation by 9 games at this point. In their next game, the Original Braves lost 4-3 to the Giants in Atlanta Stadium: Ken Johnson lost to Ron Herbel before 27,000. (Things I didn’t know: Ron Herbel ended his career in Atlanta in 1971, going 0-1. A lot of guys ended their career in Atlanta back in those days.) The guys hitting 3rd for their respective teams were two guys named Mays and Aaron. Willie McCovey, Joe Torre, and Eddie Mathews rounded out the HOF lineups. In the top of the first, Mays and McCovey went back-to-back, Mays inside the park, to score 3. Jim Davenport hit a homer in the 6th to make it 4-0, but the Braves came back in the bottom of the inning with a two run homer by Hammerin’ Hank, his 17th. (Take that, Albies.)
In the bottom of the 9th, trailing by 2, Aaron reached on an error, Felipe Alou singled, then Torre singled, scoring Aaron. At that point, the Win Probability for the Giants, which had never been below 75% since the first inning, fell to 50%.
Back to now. Jake Arrieta against Luiz Gohara, the Brazilian Sabathia, in his first start of the season. Arrieta makes $25 million per year, Gohara somewhat less. Only 5 MLB players have come from Brazil, one more than from Austria, and I’m going to be pretty upset if Gohara doesn’t prove to be a better player than Yan Gomes.
The Phillies scratched together a couple of runs in the 3rd and 4th and Luiz was done. Sam “I am not the other” Freeman gave up another in the 5th. Moylan with a clean 6th.
The offense started to stir in the 7th. Inciarte singled and was caught stealing. A walk to Camargo and a bloop double by Swanson chased Arrieta, but a Tucker strike out ended it.
Another run in the 8th off Carle.
A quiet 9th…
And so it ends: not with the bang of a walkoff homer but with the whimper of a Dansby Swanson lineout to left amidst the sounds of vomiting teenagers, breaking bottles and the metallic thud of exhausted kegs on cobblestone streets.
The first Wednesday loss….Thursday morning here, but still.