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NLDS: Brewers vs Braves


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Jayson Stark breaks down Freddie vs Hader

It was greatness against greatness, and what’s better than that? It was Freddie Freeman versus Josh Hader, tie game, eighth inning, nothing much riding on it except two teams’ magical seasons.

So how’d it turn out? I’m good with watching it one more time if you are.

“This is what you dream of when you’re a kid. You really do: Hitting a homer to clinch a playoff,” Freeman would say later, his heart still thumping after the game-winning bomb that ended the Brewers’ season and transported the Braves into the NLCS. “And for it to happen, it’s kind of amazing. It really is.”

But in that moment, I’m going to guess that even he didn’t know how amazing. When you add up the stakes, the score, the inning and the man on the mound, I think we can safely say this was the least likely game-winning home run of Freeman’s career.

Oh, I know it was only a few days ago when I spilled a whole bunch of poetic words and powerful numbers to explain why Freeman is one of the special hitters in the hemisphere. And that hasn’t changed. But if ever there was a wave of Freddie’s magic wand that wasn’t supposed to happen, this was it. So allow me to spell out what made it so improbable.

THE MOMENT: The Braves have been playing baseball since 1876. In the entire history of their franchise, there have been just two times when anyone in their uniform got a go-ahead hit, to clinch any postseason series, in the eighth inning or later. One was Francisco Cabrera to walk off the 1992 NLCS. The other was Freddie Freeman, on Tuesday in Atlanta. And. That. Is. It.

THE MONSTER ON THE MOUND: What happened Tuesday doesn’t happen to Josh Hader. He’s way too good, way too unhittable, especially if you hit left-handed for a living. Let’s discuss.

• His .127 opponent batting average and .193 opponent slugging? They were the lowest against any pitcher in baseball who faced at least 200 hitters this year.

• That .124 career average by left-handed hitters against him? It’s the lowest for any left-handed pitcher against left-handed hitting fellow humans.

• Hader threw 228 pitches to left-handed hitters this year (regular season and postseason). How many of those 228 pitches were hit for a home run? That would be zero. (H/T to @MLB_Metrics)

• In his five-year career, Hader has thrown nearly 400 sliders to left-handed hitters. One of them had ever been hit for a home run (by Cody Bellinger, on April 21, 2019) — as opposed to 88 that were swung at and missed, according to Codify Baseball.

• In that career, before Tuesday, Hader had faced 350 left-handed hitters (regular season and postseason). How’d that go? How about 150 strikeouts — and 15 extra-base hits.

• Over just the last two seasons, this guy allowed precisely two extra-base hits to left-handed hitters. An Eric Hosmer double — five months ago — was the only one this season. A Jason Heyward homer on Sept. 12, 2020, was the only one last season.

• And even though Freeman had once hit a walk-off homer against Hader — off a fastball, on May 18, 2019 — nobody had ever hit two go-ahead homers against him. Which brings us to …

FREDDIE’S LATE-INNING KRYPTONITE: Hey, Freddie Freeman can hit anybody. His .784 career OPS against left-handed pitchers ranks 12th among all active left-handed hitters. On the other hand, he has also seen a decade-long parade of left-handed relievers in the late innings in his great career. And that’s been no fun, because how could it be?

• According to Codify Baseball, this was his 799th career plate appearance (counting the postseason) against a left-hander from the eighth inning on — 179 of them with his team tied or trailing by no more than two runs. Those at-bats had somehow led to only seven go-ahead hits … until Tuesday.

• So now you can make it eight go-ahead hits — and two ­of them are homers off Josh Hader.

• And how many other left-handed hitters on Earth can say they’ve hit two home runs off Hader — go-ahead or any other kind? That answer is none. Just Freddie Freeman.

So no wonder you heard him afterward uttering these words: “I had a lot of cool moments in my career. But so far, I think that’s going to top them right there.”

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Ron Washington addressed the managerial rumors. He said he has had zero contact with the Padres or Mets. He won't be allowed to interview until the season is over though. Wash did add he wants to manage again but is perfectly happy staying in Atlanta

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26 minutes ago, Unknøwn said:

Ron Washington addressed the managerial rumors. He said he has had zero contact with the Padres or Mets. He won't be allowed to interview until the season is over though. Wash did add he wants to manage again but is perfectly happy staying in Atlanta

Cool....lets win one for Snit and send him off into the sunset a winner and promote Washington to manager.

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11 minutes ago, falconsd56 said:

Cool....lets win one for Snit and send him off into the sunset a winner and promote Washington to manager.

I wouldn't mind it but I hope they have someone younger in mind eventually. I believe Wash is like 70 y/o.

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13 hours ago, Unknøwn said:

Here's the view of that Freeman HR call in the radio booth. Joe Simpson providing the gestures again. I will say since being separated from Chip, Joe does a good job. He's even gotten pretty good at play by play. 

 

To be honest, that was a very tame response to a HUGE moment, especially from Ingram who is nothing more than a hired mouth, not really a Brave homer. I like Jim Powell MUCH better. A home grown Atlantan. 

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On 10/13/2021 at 10:33 AM, Unknøwn said:

 

The Athletic did a story about the person behind this account. Its college sophomore Ethan Stinger. He coded a program that analyzes all data at 10:30 AM the day after games. The laptop sits on top of his mini fridge in the dorm. It springs to life just long enough to crunch the data and post the information it's programed to output into the Twitter world. Ethan says he's often in class when the account turns active. He's studying computer science, public policy and statistics at Boston University. He says he was inspired by a study showing umps missed 34,000 in 2018. He wanted to create a program that could show how this impacted the outcome of a game. After two years of tinkering here we are. Famous in baseball social media and followed by 143,000 people including players like Mike Trout. Even shared by retired ump Dale Scott as an example of how fans and players can overreact on certain calls. Scott by the way said MLB security tells umps to avoid social media and not be publicly accessible. So for now they live in blissful ignorance of their grades. 

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1 hour ago, Unknøwn said:

Lot of "experts" are picking SF tonight. They think Webb will do his thing and shut down the Dodgers again. 

If that happens the Braves would fly to SF tomorrow morning. Saturday would likely be Fried vs Gausman. 

It would be weird to not know whether you're flying to the West Coast tomorrow.

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DOB clarified why nobody is caught in contact tracing with Soler. MLB does not require testing for vaccinated players unless you display symptoms. So as long as you don't display symptoms nobody will be tested or quarantined. He said the Braves are about as close to 100% vaccinated as you can get. Obviously there's 1 exception it would seem. 

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Snitker said they may start Anderson in Game 2. He said its undecided but they're leaning towards giving Morton an extra day off. Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday so he'd have an additional 2 days of rest. With the built in off days he would still be on full rest for Game 7 if needed. Morton is 4-0 in games where his team faces elimination. Including clinching the 2017 World Series on short rest. He came in from the pen and pitched 4 lock down innings on 3 days rest. 

Snit also said a bullpen game is on the table for Game 4. Not ready to commit to anyone. 

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23 hours ago, RING OF HONOR said:

Oh that's right....I was looking at the record...I almost forgot it's division winner vs wildcard.

Thanks for the reminder

 

I did the same thing. When I heard we would be the home team I didn't get it at first and then realized what was going on.

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