There are a number of storylines that were objectively true about the Braves and the Cardinals:
-The Braves have the better bullpen.
–Nick Markakis is here because he’s veteran leadership. A heady player.
–Dallas Keuchel has playoff experience. He’s the guy you want on the mound if you don’t trust your young pitchers to pitch.
–Marcell Ozuna and Kolten Wong are probably not guys that are going to beat you. Ozuna has been ice cold in September and Kolton Wong has been injured, and wasn’t very good when he was healthy.
Well, it didn’t work out that way. Dallas Keuchel couldn’t get out of the 5th inning. Nick Markakis let a runner go to third on a normal single to right. The Braves bullpen gave up 6 runs in the process of getting 5 outs. Ozuna and Wong went 4-8 with 4 RBIs.
The Cardinals, in total, got 14 hits. Five of them were off Mark Melancon, our surest option in the late innings.
You’re just asking for it when you have to put 7 relievers in the game. One of them is not going to have their best stuff. Shoot, 2 or 3 might not even, as what happened tonight. Would it have been different if Chris Martin hadn’t gotten injured? I don’t know. Would it have been different if Jerry Blevins was on the roster, and you brought him in to pitch to Wong in the 8th? Probably. In a game otherwise very aggressively managed by Snit, was saving your only lefty potentially for multi-inning too conservative? Probably.
There’s no “goat” here. Lonnie Smith didn’t get pulled off a bag. Mark Wohlers didn’t hang a slider. Brooks Conrad didn’t boot a ball or miss a pop up. We just gave up one more run than we scored.
With Flaherty pitching tomorrow, things could get ugly. But does the offense ride the momentum of a strong 9th to get out on top tomorrow? If you don’t, things definitely get ugly. I do know that Mike Foltynewicz is about as good of a bet as any on either roster to come out and give you 7 strong innings. We will need it.