Greek Giant

A Playoff Atmosphere

When the Atlanta Braves batters make contact they bat .342, the highest average in baseball. They have the highest swing rate in MLB. They have the highest swing and miss rate in MLB. In other words: this is an aggressive team at the plate. None of that really mattered last night because Max Fried and Logan Webb each pitched seven innings of excellent baseball to give baseball fans a rare pitcher’s duel in a game that had playoff implications and that felt very postseasonish in its intensity and weirdness. It was a very good, very exciting baseball game, despite the result that saw the Giants lose 2-1 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth by Orlando Arcia off Camilo Doval.

The ninth began with Doval walking Matt Olson on four pitches. Olson was then replaced by pinch-runner Gosselin who moved to second on a single by Marcel Ozuna before the big hit by Arcia. It was not a good outing for the young Doval.

The evening saw the Braves present Joc Pederson with his World Series ring. I remember it like it was yesterday: the madness, the excitment, the big hits, and yes, those pearls of Joctober. Now Pederson is a Giant and times have changed but the Braves remain one of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball, winning 16 of their last 18 ball games, an incredible streak that saw them dead in the water in April and now very much alive in the National League East race.

This was the second straight loss for the Giants after winning the series in Pittsburgh.

Logan’s Great Run

Logan Webb was stupendous again last night. That’s all I want to say. This was another game where he pitched his heart out, in this case against a great Braves club. Bravo Webb!

Missed Opportunities

The Braves scored first on a home run by Travis d’Arnaud, a rare long ball surrendered by Logan Webb. The Giants countered with an RBI single by Austin Slater in the top of the 8th to make it interesting but the story of the game was lost opportunities for the San Franciscans and their inability to find the situational hit or big swat. The game was theirs for the taking on many occasions but Max Fried is a great pitcher so credit where credit is due.

Here is what Giants Manager Gabe Kapler had to say:

“I think we were like one excellent at-bat away from winning this game. I know we had a lot of opportunities to win it against a guy who is clearly one of the best pitchers in baseball. Webbie obviously matched him kind of pitch for pitch, in position to win a game on the road against an excellent team. We can take some good, positive signals away from that, but we have to finish.”

For example in the top of the second inning the Giants had runners on first and third base with one out when Luis Gonzalez was picked off first and Thairo Estrada struck out looking. Threat over.

In the top of the 8th inning the Giants loaded the bases with nobody out but could only manage the Slater RBI single that scored only a single run. That was the key inning of the game for the Giants hitters.

In the top of the ninth the Giants had another rally that just fell short when after Belt struck out to lead off, Joc Pederson singled and moved to third on Luis Gonzalez’s infield hit. The boys had first and third with one out and the stage was set for a rally but Estrada and Crawford struck out to finish the inning in disappointing fashion.

The Box

Tonight’s Game

Anthony Desclafani returns from a long stint on the Injured list. He pitches tonight against Spencer Strider of the Braves. Game time is 7:20 PM at Henry Aaron Field.