If you were expecting a fun day full of baseball this Saturday, I regret to inform you that the first game of the double day today was do not The game you were looking for The Indians suspended a fifth inning of six races at the Atlanta Launch and went on to win, as the Braves blew two lanes and then fell silent for the rest of the game.
The matchup for this game included Julio Tehran and Corey Kluber, and neither of them actually did so well when the game ended. Tehran looked a lot like his old self, lacked his arm again and again to the left-leaning Cleveland lineup, and gave him a lot of walks in the process. Kluber was strangely wild at times and was scored for two homers, so even though he managed a fairly easy victory, he failed to accumulate the low FIP. On the relief side for the Braves, it was Wes Parsons' turn to fail supreme, as it worsened a bad situation in the fifth inning, by not doing anything positive against any of the Cleveland hitters he faced.
The Braves actually hit Kluber first, since Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. took two walks in the first. Nick Markakis then knocked down a tough rolling machine down the middle, scoring Freeman from the first. But, Dansby Swanson was launched to finish the small rally of two starts. However, the defense of Tehran and the Braves returned that race. Tehran took a unique ride to José Ramírez (the good guy) and then allowed a hit from Jason Kipnis's bat. Ozzie Albies tried to play the ball at his side and only managed to deflect it, putting runners in the corners. Then, in an extremely annoying way, Tehran induced Carlos Santana to throw absolutely a ball that hung for an eon in the shallow left … but not enough so that Acuña really exceeds and achieves the capture. It was a ball with a literal hit probability of one percent, but fell from Acuña and tied the game. Tehran then took another walk, but struck out the next two batters to keep the game at the same time.
Both pitchers worked a scoreless second, although Teheran included a four-pitch walk to Max Moroff, who entered this game with a -67 wRC + and that is not the number I invented. The Braves pushed their second run in the third. Ozzie Albies got a fast double by circling a ball to the center to lead the inning, and advanced to third with a slow roller defeated by Josh Donaldson. Freeman struck out and Acuña received a pitch from Kluber to load the bases. Markakis then threw a pitch to the left that was for a sacrifice fly, but Swanson tapped Kluber to suppress the rally once again. Tehran immediately started an exit walk on his return to the mound, and put the tie race in third place while Carlos Santana connected a single. But then, the providence hit, since Jake Bauers inexplicably baded up with the tie race in third and none out. Tehran threw the ball and fired home to clear the runner. A takeoff and a pop out ended the inning, with the Braves still ahead 2-1.
After Kluber worked another 1-2-3 inning, Tehran managed to avoid walking with anyone in the fourth. But, it was not a positive development, since Max Moroff (race 54 wRC +) threw a home run off with one out, tying the game. Kluber went 1-2-3 once more at the top of the fifth, and then things went sinister.
Up to that point, Julio Tehran had thrown four innings with a 4/4 K / BB ratio and a homer allowed, but he was sent back to the fifth, against the heart of Cleveland's heavy southpaw lineup. It seemed that he could get away with it and frustrate the TTO spirits a bit, but fate had other ideas. Tehran started hitting Kipnis, and a Santana single did not sound the alarms. A Bauer punch put Tehran in a great position to survive the framing. But he did not. Greg Allen, the -51 wRC + player who entered the game (not a number that I invented), doubled over to Freddie Freeman, and scored Santana as the victory race. (Santana, somehow, came to second base on a stolen base in a previous pitch, which … yes, in this game). Now behind, Tehran was still in place and a single by Tyler Naquin made it 4-2. Even though Cleveland's only right-handed bat was due to Kevin Plawecki, manager Brian Snitker had seen enough and had raised Tehran in favor of Wes Parsons …
… who completed the self-immolation at the entrance. Parsons walked towards Plawecki and almost hit him on the head with a throw in the process. He allowed a single to Moroff (5-2). He allowed another single to Leonys Martin (6-2). He walked to Jose Ramirez, and then a pbad from Brian McCann made it 7-2. Jason Kipnis also called (struck out to start the inning), and went 8-2. That was all for Parsons: three hits, two walks, no retired batters, boos, whistles, etc. Jesse Biddle approached and finally retired to Santana to finish the painting.
Kluber kept trying (another 1-2-3), completing a string of ten consecutive Braves retired. Biddle really worked on an effective entry (what a left-handed pitcher can do against a group of left-handed hitters), with 1-2-3 and two strikeouts of their own. The Braves won two of the races they allowed when McCann and Matt Joyce returned from Kluber to start the seventh, which ultimately makes no sense and that still broke Kluber's FIP, but the right ended the draw and his night retired Donaldson. Strikes Jacob Webb reached the end of the seventh and had his own two strikeout, although unfortunately he took an initial walk.
The rest of the game was very calm. The Braves came back down in order in the eighth, this time to Nick Wittgren. Josh Tomlin returned the favor to his former team at the bottom of the frame. Brad Hand allowed a two-out single for Charlie Culberson, but got popup hitter Johan Camargo to fly to finish the game.
The Braves dropped below .500 for the first time this season since they reached that mark on April 4. Luckily, they have the opportunity to return to .500 later tonight, while Touki Toussaint becomes entangled with Trevor Bauer.