The Braves had a very bad baseball this year, but the fifth inning of Friday night’s loss to the Dodgers could be the worst shot of the 2021 season so far for them. They entered this frame with a one-time lead and until it ended mercifully, they were 8-1 behind. The inning had everything in it to make a particularly harmful dish of horrible baseball: defensive gaps, relievers, relievers who can’t find the area, relievers who go on the run, and some absolutely tactical solutions that cause a lobotomy on their own. What I’m saying is that we were all having fun on Friday night, right?
The game actually started with a pretty happy note! Ian Anderson hit a low in the first thanks to a double play (which erased an error from Austin Riley playing the rover̵
Anderson hit the country in the second and also withdrew the country to be third. He passed two in the fourth, but another double play, plus a victorious 11-step battle in which he finally hit Bellinger, keeping the Dodgers out of the board. The Braves also could not scratch anything other than Urias, although they had a bezer warrior in every second, third and fourth innings.
So, we came to the fifth. It started with Will Smith (the Dodgers), who scalded the ball, which fortunately was hit right in Ronald Akunya Jr. for the first out. Anderson’s control and command had indeed faded by now (see the two walks in the fourth) and he released a free pass from Chris Taylor’s five pitches. Gavin Lux followed with the Dodgers’ first shot, a double on the right that put the men in second and third with one out. And then things melted very, very down.
With an open base and next place in the pitcher, Braves still chose Anderson to face AJ Pollock, which is reasonably defensible in itself. Less defensive is Austin Riley’s decision for Pollock’s swinging helicopter to A) throw home at all and B) actually throw the ball in Taylor’s back. This was then complicated by Anderson, who was late with Urias’ shot to the home board, meaning the Braves gave up both the lead and the back-and-forth tie, which went a total of 50 feet or so until they were managed to record the output of neither. Oh, but we weren’t done yet. Far from it.
Anderson’s day was over before he could get up for the third time that night in Los Angeles. A loan with a loan was a good solution. However, the request from the southern paw of Sean Newcomb to face three consecutive rights in a single game, with many right-hand options available in the bull … not so much. (Albert Pujols replaced Max Munsey at first base after the latter came out due to ankle pain.) Newcomb withdrew the first batter he encountered, dropping out of Mookie Betts. But then he was walking Pujols. And then he left with Justin Turner on busy bases. And then he was walking Cody Bellinger with bases still loaded. He had two more rights, but the Brave chose to do so another leftist terrain to them while Grant Dayton eased Newcomb. Dayton didn’t walk, but gave up on Smith’s RBI single and then double-cleared Taylor’s bases. Then he was walking someone.
Anyway, it was almost a ball game. Later in the game, Edgar Santana came out and put up two unsuccessful innings, which really puzzled the whole thing, “it’s not our leftists who have to face all these righteous people.” The Braves had a small rally in the eighth against Mitch White, as the single by Ender Inciarte and Acuña walk came as a double for Ozzie Albies. Later, after Riley singled, Adriana hit a shallow pop to the left, which fell when none of the three Dodgers approaching him managed to catch him, scoring both Albis and Riley. But William Contreras considered ending the shot.
Tyler Matzek, who too was not used in the fifth, Mookie Betts’ home side’s relegation from a minor league over several pitches, as double and two wild pitches allowed Betts to win the ninth round of LA. Kenly Jansen came out with a quadruple lead and had trouble commanding early, walking both Abraham Almonte and Ender Insiarte to start the shot. But the Braves couldn’t even make the binding move on the slab: Akunya jumped on the pipe cutter, Freeman spun through the gutter, and Albis could only fly to Bellinger, the pipe cutter as well.
Seriously, a reward for one who can explain the argument that Newcomb and Dayton confront all these virtues in the fifth in a way that actually makes sense. My only hope is that what the Braves are taking away from this game is that they probably need to base themselves more often with the safer ones, because the alternative has turned out just awful for them this season.