It’s the only time I ever met a parent of a Brave in the stands. It was 1992, and the Bravos were in the middle of sweeping four games at Wrigley to head into the all star break.
On that Saturday night, Avery was golden, Deion hit a two-run homer in the 8th, and the Atlantas won 3-1. Just as memorably, a wizened African-American gent sat next to me in a section behind home plate. (A friend and I had secured tix from a sportswriter colleague, so we had decent seats.) At a certain point, the old gent produced a handful of baseball cards. He thumbed through them, pointed to Marvin Freeman and said, “That’s my son.” And that’s the riveting story of how I met Marvin Freeman’s dad.
That Braves’ winning streak would culminate at 13 on another unforgettable night — when Otis climbed the FulCo wall to rob Van Slyke. I was there that night, too, along with CB. We were later part of a raucous celebration at Manuel’s Tavern, as the packed barroom chanted Otis’ name as the replay was shown over and over on TV.
Back to that night at Wrigley, the Braves arrived in Chicago five games behind the Reds but left two games out. The fellas soon overtook Cincy and didn’t look back.
Them was better times. Boy were they.
The 2015 Braves are now doing what a team does when it has two legit big league starting pitchers, one bona fide major league reliever and a weak offense. Obviously this season was toast long ago. But the good news — if you want to view it thusly — is that after today only 13 of the remaining 38 games are on the road. The Braves are actually playing .571 ball at home, including a 9-7 mark since the break. And Olivera is expected to play tomorrow. That’ll at least be interesting.
Wisler goes today, and as we all know he’s been erratic. It’s what rookie pitchers do. We just have a bunch of them. For fun, I looked up the rookie numbers of the Bravos’ three recent Hall of Fame inductees. Here’s how their combined stats compare to what Wisler, Perez and Folty have done this year:
Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz: 15-39, 5.05 ERA, 1.51 WHIP
Wisler/Perez/Folty: 13-12, 5.21, 1.53
Pretty similar. Of course, outside maybe the Wisler, Perez and Folty families, nobody would suggest this trio will come within a time zone of what the Big 3 accomplished. But it’s sensible to remember that nearly all big league rookie starters struggle mightily. In fact, building next year’s bullpen could be as big a challenge as the rotation. Of course, with bullpens you can get lucky with reclamation projects and low-profile signings and trades. Plus, Grilli will be back. No guarantee he’ll be as effective as this season, but he can’t be worse than the recent parade of horribles. And I think Marksberry is going to be good.
Ah, well. Onward. Today’s lineup: Markakis, Maybin, Freeman, Swisher, Garcia, Peterson, Ciriaco SS, Lavarnway, Wisler. Assume it’s just a day off for Andrelton. I don’t see any news after a brief look around.