I’ve tried in these recaps to exactly parallel the 1966 season, but I have to make a small exception here.
The 2018 Braves are two games short of halfway, but at the halfway point in 1966, the 81st game on July 3, a remarkable game came to pass. The Braves beat the Giants in Candlestick 17-3. It should be noted (to comment on the current season) that that was the 36-45 Braves beating the 49-30 Giants by 14 runs: a sunny record doesn’t make every game against second division teams sunny.
The remarkable thing in this game, as most of you know, is that starting pitcher Tony Cloninger hit two grand slams in the game and had another run-scoring single for 9 RBI. In the history of baseball, only thirteen people have hit two grand slams in a game, and Tony Cloninger is the only pitcher to do it. 9 RBIs in a game is still the pitcher’s record. Combined with the two homer game against the Mets I told you about two weeks ago, Cloninger became one of three pitchers to have two two-homer games in a season. The other two were Don Newcombe (1955) and Rick Wise (1971). Bumgarner will probably be the fourth, but not yet.
Lost in the buzz over Tony C was Hank Aaron’s league-leading 25th homer along with homers from Rico Carty and Joe Torre. Many people claim to have watched this game on television, but it wasn’t televised.
On to today’s game. First, in outside news Soroka got all but shutdown for the season with placement on the 60 day DL. The word is that there’s no structural damage, just slow healing, but this is what you obviously have to do with a 20 year old. My only comment as a 62 year old is that if Soroka’s slow healing now, just wait a few decades.
The Braves sent No-Terminal-E Newcomb to the mound. He started off promisingly by getting Joey Votto ejected in the first, but unfortunately the Reds weren’t out of players yet and he failed to irritate any more into ejection, and gave up two runs early on.
The Braves were quiet until the 4th when a 4 run outburst put them in the lead: Suzu (and his petals) drove in Freeman, Folk Hero Culberson knocked in Markakis, Camargo knocked in Suzu (who had a fabulous slide), and Swanson singled in Culberson.
The clubs traded runs in the 5th, but then came the fateful 7th. The Braves have had two Aarons at the same time, one much better than the other. The Braves have had two Niekros at the same time, one much better than the other. The Braves had two Jones’ at the same time, and they were both really good, but one is in HOF and the other doesn’t look like he’ll make it. Right now the Braves have two Freemans, one of them much better then the other one. The other one pitched badly in the 7th and gave up three runs (two Grybo’d by Winkler, but it surely wouldn’t have been any different if Sam had stayed in) and that was the difference.
Another loss. I apologize, but I’ve lent some of my mojo to cliff, who needed it badly. I’ll take it back when the bulge recedes.