Arizona 2, Atlanta 0 – MLB – Recap – Diamondbacks at Braves – 08/17/2003

I hope the eight Turner South mutants enjoyed the 1998-vintage pitchers’ duel between Schilling and Maddux. I can’t imagine anyone would want to see that when they could have watched Die Hard 2 for the 73rd time instead.

Schilling completely dominated the Braves. Marcus hit a ball off the wall in the first, but that was the only hit he allowed in eight innings, walking two and striking out 12. You see, that’s what a staff ace looks like. No offense meant to Russ Ortiz, but wow. He could have lost anyway; Javy hit a deep fly with DeRosa on in the eighth that would have given the Braves a lead, but it was a warning-track shot. According to the game story, of course, since nobody actually saw it.

Maddux didn’t match Schilling pitch-for-pitch, but did well enough, except for a solo homer by Alex Cintron in the seventh. He walked one, allowed seven hits, and struck out five. Cintron also scored the Diamondbacks’ second run, coming home on a single in the ninth after doubling off Mercker.

I’m not sure why Mercker was in there except that Bobby is trying him out in the Remlinger role. I don’t think he’s as good of a pitcher as the last lefthanded reliever/converted starter the Braves overpaid the Reds for, but it’s worth a try. In that situation though — down one in the ninth at home — you bring in your closer, especially when he hasn’t pitched in the series. The Braves had first-and-third in the ninth with one out and the Joneses due up, and Chipper might have been able to drive in the tying run if it had been 1-0. 2-0 he apparently was swinging for the fences and struck out, as did Andruw. Chipper had the 0-4, three strikeout golden sombrero, but Andruw beat him with the platinum sombrero, 0-4 all of them Ks. Ouch.

Day game tomorrow to finish up the homestand, Batista and Hampton. The Marlins likely will win, for what it’s worth, while the Phillies play tonight.

17 thoughts on “Arizona 2, Atlanta 0”

  1. This one of those times I’m glad I have Turner South. A game between two teams like these should’ve been on TBS; why the Mets can get on TBS and the D’Backs can’t is beyond me. I’ll never forget back in 2000 when the Yankees were at Atlanta and the Sunday game was on TS, and I didn’t have it!!

    Too bad Maddux got the loss. It was refreshing that he picthed well against Arizona, a team he traditionally pitches poorly against. Too bad Schilling remembered he was facing the Braves.

  2. Javy needed to pull the ball 20 feet to the left — it was just mid-track in dead center. Does this mean I have mutant super-powers?

  3. The Braves score 20 runs in the past two games, and then can’t get a single run the next game. I guess I’ll just follow something more predictable, like hurricanes…

  4. Well, it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. Schilling isn’t exactly chopped liver out there, and over the last three years before today he had held Atlanta to a 2.52 ERA in 71 innings. He’s holding righthanded batters to a 530 OPS this season, and this lineup’s power is predominantly righthanded.

    Plus it never hurts to get to face Blanco and Maddux back to back in your opposing lineup – and yes, I do understand that it’s good to rest your catcher in a day game after a night game, so this isn’t a slam on that aspect today, just a point on the lineup.

  5. The silver lining in this game is that hopefully Maddux made a good impression on the Arizona brass and they will foolishly make him a FA offer in the off season. Maybe it will keep John S from doing something (else) stupid.

  6. To be honest, Robert, if the Braves can get another one-year deal for Maddux it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Yeah, he hasn’t been great, but the market won’t exactly be flooded with good starters. Everyone says Millwood, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be available and he hasn’t been much better than Maddux anyway.

  7. I guess it depends what the number is he would sign for. Even after Sunday, Maddux has a 4.91 run average this season in front of a good defense in a pitchers park. It’s really not that hard to find someone to replace that performance (Ramirez, 4.88), especially when it seems Leo can turn lead into gold. I think there are a minimum of three or four young guys already on the 40 man roster who could do it if given a chance. If your telling me that I need to shell out $8-10 million next season to keep him, I would let him go.

    Plus he’ll be a year older next year and it’s only going to get worse. Add in the personal catcher madness, and I’m praying this will be the end of the line.

  8. Oh, and Millwood has a run average of 3.97 which is about a run per nine better than Maddux this season (a significant amount) in about the same number of innings. This is just for the record, I’m don’t like the idea of chasing him this off season either.

  9. For my part, the worst aspect of keeping Maddux is the potential of that meaning that we can’t keep Sheffield. They’re both big money guys (the two most expensive on the club?) and free agents.

    I don’t think anybody would question which one has been more valuable this year, or which one would be a bigger re-signing coup. If both could be had for another year, than so be it, but if Maddux staying means that Sheff gets kicked to the kerb, the ol doggy must go.

  10. For one thing, Turner Field hasn’t, to my knowledge, played as a pitcher’s park this year, but rather the opposite. Now, a lot of that might just be Javy, but it’s something to keep in mind.

    I’m looking at the peripherals. Maddux’s strikeout rate isn’t what it used to be, but it’s okay for a control pitcher, and he doesn’t walk anyone. He’s given up a lot of homers, and he’s had a lot of seeing-eye hits. The first is his fault, but I don’t think the second is. And he’s been mostly good-to-great in the last month or two.

    Not at $12 million, I agree, but I don’t think he’ll get that in arbitration or on the open market. More likely half that with incentives.

  11. Well I guess we could go back and forth all day, but I’d just like to point out that Greg has allowed 39 doubles (8th in NL), and 6 triples (2nd in NL) to go along with those homers. I’m guessing most of those weren’t seeing-eye. He’s also second in the league in steals allowed, but we knew that already. The point is, if he misses his spot, it’s BP. And it seems the older he gets, the more he misses his spot.

  12. And it seems the older he gets, the more he misses his spot.

    … which is why he was only second in the NL in ERA last season.

    Players certainly age and their skills decline. But it is rare for a player to suddenly hit a wall where they go from great to average literally overnight. I would be willing to wager a significant sum that Maddux next season will be among the league leaders in ERA once again.

    Not at $12 million, I agree, but I don’t think he’ll get that in arbitration or on the open market. More likely half that with incentives.

    In arbitration, it is going to be a set figure of X dollars. There can be no incentives. Also, if it goes to arbitration, I believe the maximum pay cut is 20% which would result in an $11.6m minimum salary.

    …in front of a good defense in a pitchers park.

    This year, the Braves are 7th in the NL in terms of turning balls in play into outs and are almost exactly equaldistant from 1st and last.

    Since the 2000 season, the Ted has played almost exactly as a neutral park. Baseball reference shows the pitching park factor for Turner to be 100, 101, and 100 for 2002 backwards (where 100 is neutral and over 100 favors hitters). This year, the Braves have scored and allowed 657 at home (10.26/g) and 628 on the road (10.47). Calculating park factors isn’t that simple ~ with unbalanced schedules, we play more away games in Florida and New York and fewer in Houston and Colorado. But as a quick and dirty guide, the park is again very close to neutral.

  13. If this were Baseball Primer I would list my name as Dale Murphy and do something like this:

    But it is rare for a player to suddenly hit a wall where they go from great to average literally overnight.

    Hi! I don’t believe we’ve met.

    However, I do agree that this phenomenon is fairly rare.

    Anyway, I’ll take your wager. Bet you a bucket of baseballs Greg has seen his last ERA leaderboard. Given the spike in his extra base hits allowed and the fact that he doesn’t seriously keep himself in shape, I like my chances. If he loses even a bit of his control and starts walking a few people, it could get real ugly.

  14. I wonder if it really is that rare once you get to this age range, though? Walter johnsons aw his ERA+ drop from 137 to 106 from age 37 to 38. At age 36 Maddux was at 157 at 36, so he was higher up there, but his drop this year at age 37 so far is to a number probably just better than 100.

    David Cone went from 130 to 76 from age 36 to 37. That’s probably similar to the plummet we’ll see this year from Glavine when all is said and done.

    IOW, it just may not be that rare for pitchers in this age range to crash and burn. And when your fastball wasn’t that fast to begin with, the crash may be even more abrupt.

    All that said, Maddux has a 3.13 ERA since the all star break. And following his absolutely disastrous first three starts, he’s posted a 3.60 ERA over his last 157 innings. It’s never all that smart to subtract conveiently bad outings, but when they come right at the start and everything since has been good, then that has to count for something.

  15. Walter Johnson was over 75 years ago. David Cone had an aneurysm which required surgery and which was reportedly life threatening.

    I haven’t taken the time to do so, but I’m betting that historically it is rare (not unprecedented, but rare) for a pitcher to have three season totalling 600-700 IP with ERA+ between 140-160, then fall off to sub average performance without a significant injury ala Dizzy Dean or Herb Score (neither of whom exactly match those perameters, but you get the idea) and to do so without significant rebound.

    Tom Seaver crashed and burned as a 37 year old in 1982, but as a 40 year old, he was among the league leaders in wins and ERA. Roger Clemens age 36 season was roughly a match for this year’s Maddux. He has been among the top 10-15 pitchers in the AL in the three plus seasons since then.

    I don’t know that I would pay $15m for Maddux. On the other hand, I don’t believe that the Braves aren’t making money hand over fist and could afford to show some largess for Maddux while keeping Sheffield and still going after others.

  16. I was just taking a random smpling of very good pitchers there. I didn’t include clemens because, while they’re contemporaries, they’re starkly different pitchers. But so is Johnson in comparison to maddux too. My point was, though, that at of those pitchers who are still starters at that age – and that’s not a large starting sample – I don’t believe it’s all that uncommon for them to crash and burn. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s all the more true for no-power pitchers (for whom I’d think the dropoff might be more incremental).

    And again, after a brutal start, Maddux hasn’t been at all bad.

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