Colorado 13, Atlanta 4 – MLB – MLB RECAP

Mark DeRosa = (Bob Horner – Bat).

DeRosa committed four errors in six innings before being replaced by Mike Hessman. Jesse Garcia committed one, and Marcus Giles two costly ones. The Rockies scored eight runs off of Horacio Ramirez, none of them earned. Juan Cruz pitched two innings and was charged with four earned runs, but I’m trying to figure out how they were counted that way. It was bad.

It started in the first, when DeRosa failed to get back to third on a comebacker to the pitcher. Ramirez was going to throw there — I don’t like the play, but that’s how the Braves coach their pitchers — but the base was unoccupied and Ramirez’s hurried throw to first was offline. The game log is saying that it was charged as a sacrifice and a fielder’s choice, but really it was a team error. Then Marcus threw a sure double play ball into left field. (The run here is being called unearned, but it should be counted as earned if I understand the scoring rules correctly, because it would have scored anyway.)

Four errors by one player on four different plays, including back to back plays in the fourth? Have any of you ever seen that? I haven’t. Even Jeff Blauser, when he was having the worst defensive season of any shorstop in the postwar era (1996, when he fielded .926 and finished last in the league in range factor, zone rating, and fielding percentage — a nearly impossible trifecta) never did that.

Given all that, the Braves never had much chance. Marcus did have a homer, and Hessman broke out of a dreadful slump with a double. The Braves had eleven hits and left six men on base, but honestly I can’t get upset about what I consider a subpar (I mean, Shawn Estes in Coors Field!) hitting performance after that fielding debacle.

The Braves get a travel day and host the Padres for three starting Tuesday. I think everyone’s glad to get home. Maybe Chipper will be ready to go. He may not be that much defensively, but everything seems much more professional when he’s around. Plus, well, the hitting.

30 thoughts on “Colorado 13, Atlanta 4”

  1. Even Jeff Blauser, when he was having the worst defensive season of any shorstop in the postwar era (1996, when he fielded .926 and finished last in the league in range factor, zone rating, and fielding percentage — a nearly impossible trifecta) never did that.

    I still want to know why Cox didn’t let Belliard play shortstop during the ’96 World Series. Not only did Blauser do a horrible job in the field (if my memory serves me correctly, he made a key error in Game 3), he was also pathetic at the plate.

  2. I’m guessing Bobby played Blauser because Belliard hit .169 for the season (with only two walks). His 4-6 performance in the NLCS wasn’t going to undo that.

  3. I never really remembered how bad Belliard was offensively until I looked at his hitting statistics recently. Being only 18, I really think I could do better. Now, whether I could replicate his defense is a different thing all together.

  4. Ugh! Ouch! Oy!

    My heartfelt sympathies to Horacio and Juan. At least HR should have a nice solid ERA at the end of the season to go with his 4-21 record. Again, not panicking. Yet.

    And while we may only be 2.5 games back at this point, the Phillies–with their 1-6 record to start the season–have moved to a half game out of second place. What? Me worry?

  5. Man… Jeff Blauser… Rafael Belliard… what other 90’s Braves guys can we throw in here? How about Marvin Freeman, Mike Bielecki, Jeff Treadway, and Jerry Willard (Mr. Game-Winning Sac Fly, himself)?

  6. Glenn Hubbard.

    Hey, Braves fans, help me remember a weird play. It was Dodgers-Braves, at LA, and it was the top of the ninth, two out. Somebody was on first (I think Hubbard, that’s why I suggested his name). Dodgers pitcher (Hershisher, maybe?) threw a pitch, and the hitter smoked a line drive towards the right field line. It hit the runner at first in the head and he went down like he’d been shot. It took about 3 minutes for everyone to realize that was the last out of the game, because of the concern for the runner.

    I must have seen this on tv. Even when I was traveling to LA a lot I didn’t see all that many games.

    Anybody remember that?

  7. Back to the present: This was the ugliest baseball game I have ever seen, and I haven’t heard of many uglier ones either. I cannot imagine how HR must have felt, esp. concerning he has already been let down by offense all year, and now defense as well.

  8. Of I think greater concern for the present is what does this mean for Derosa at 3rd? If there’s anything that will gt you onto Bobby’s shitlist as a hitter it’s crappy defense, but who would take his place????

  9. once chipper comes back it would be hessman, on a more postive note hollins is hitting really well since coming up.

  10. One of the ironies of the 1996 Series, and I could easily be corrected on this one, was that Belliard, as a defensive replacement for Blauser in the 8th inning of game 4, bobbled a sure DP grounder that would have ended the inning (he still got the force at 2nd) and prevented Leyritz from coming to the plate with the tying runs on. I could easily be corrected, but I seem to remember that happening. Maybe it was an inning earlier or later.

    But the salient point remains, Venus de Milo’s range factor rivals that of Jeff’s.

    Yesterday’s game reminded me of a bad game in beer league softball, where the ball keeps getting hit to the one guy who started chugging at 8 AM.

    Depending on how things go in G-ville, the Marte era may be beginning as early as June 15.

    I will be curious to see if Hessman gets a full shot at 3B. I am among the less than 10% of Braves’ fans that actually think the guy could maybe somehow in some galaxy somewhere at some point in time do a somewhat passable job at some position on a major league baseball club. Whether that is here and now remains debatable.

    I like DeRosa as a player and my baseball heart (not my real heart) breaks for him. He really did earn his shot and if this is how he fritters it away, it’s kind of sad (in a baseball way).

  11. Venus de Milo’s range. Very funny. For some reason I liked Jeff Blauser. Hmmm.

    I’ll ask the question again. Is Andy Marte Rafael Furcal or Wilson Betemit? I sure would like him to be Miguel Cabrera.

    If Mark DeRosa is ‘fired’ for one really really bad game then we are in trouble. I actually think he is making some progress. Third base is a hitters position. Of course if he continues to make 4 errors a game then who?

    With all of the negative stuff has anyone noticed how good a ball player J.D. Drew is? Nothing Sheffieldian about his feats but he is really playing well.

    A stat to make your skin crawl. Andruw Jones has already hit into 8 double plays.

    A lot of negative stuff flying around about Mark DeRosa. What about Adam LaRoche? He is being out hit by Jesse Garcia for crying out loud.

    Call me the eternal glasses half full guy but I still believe that we can contend.

  12. I liked Blauser too. I just didn’t realize his range was so bad until someone pointed me to the stat pile after he had retired.

    He had a couple of great offensive seasons for a SS.

    I’m not ready to throw in the towel either. You are right in that LaRoche needs to pick it up. He can’t seem to do much with the ball on the inner half of the plate and he is going to need to make adjustments.

    I agree on Drew too. He is a very quietly good player. Very good fundamentally and has a graceful athleticism to him. He’s one of those guys that makes it look so easy that it appears he’s just on cruise control.

    This team can contend. The top three in the division have all shown their strengths and weaknesses in April and I don’t think there is a prohibitive favorite among them. The team that “plays best” as opposed to “looks best” is going to win the division. My only concern is that the Fish and Phils seem better equipped to pull off a “monster month” (20-5 or something like that) than the Braves are.

    As for DeRo, all eyes have been upon him and remain so. The problem with some many guys who are successful in the utility role–and I think DeRo was probably the best utility guy in the NL last season–is that fans think they can automatically translate success in that role to success as a regular player. For some reason, the transition is rarely smooth. He’ll get at least another month and if Marte isn’t ready, DeRo will play the whole year.

  13. Wouldn’t it be great if ATL had a former MVP 3rd baseman that they moved to another position that they could move back to 3B and let DeRosa bask in the gloriousness of utility infieldery? I think it would.

  14. Still trying to be positive, I guess that we should be thankful to be at .500 and not buried considering that we haven’t had a full month from Chipper, Raffy and J.D. and Ortiz and Hampton have been so inconsistent. Reitsma has looked good too. I think that we need another bat. Contrary to other opinions I think that the bat will have to be at 1B or LF if we move Chip to 1B.

    If Ortiz and Hampton cannot get on a good roll then we are going to suck really bad.

  15. 50PoundHead – you are exactly right about the Belliard flub (not officially an error, as one never presumes a DP) that allowed Jim Leyritz to come to the plate. Thanks for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in it!

  16. colin, I remember right after it happening, muttering something to the effect that “I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt us. Heck, Wohlers should be able to get Leyritz.”

  17. I actually put together a whole theory – the surce of Rafael Belliard – picking that play as the point when the Braves’ fortunes turned in the 90s. Most people have chalked it up to the offenses, but bad defense has been a hallmark of the Braves’ postseason failures ever since then.

  18. I think it was throwing a flipping slider to a guy who couldn’t catch up to the fastball that did it. But that’s just me. Has Wohlers been arrested for starting the Yankee dynasty yet?

  19. Curse, no curse, whatever. It’s just that that play really accurately portrays the beauty and mystery of baseball. And although my guys were on the wrong end of history, it’s stuff like this that makes baseball special.

    If Leyritz is leading off the next inning with the bases empty and hits the ball nine miles, who cares? Belliard doesn’t field the thing cleanly (who knows, maybe Lemke would have launched the throw off the turn into the first base upper deck) and Leyritz puts the hurt on us.

    Baseball is the one sport where disjointed events can tie together in this odd way. Like every sport, it boils down to playing well and executing, but here are two distinctly separate events (few remember the first, almost everyone remembers the second) that “mark the underwear” of baseball history.

    Mac, don’t bring back the slider thing again. The voice of Tim McCarver chanting “third best pitch” will get back into my head and I won’t be able to sleep for weeks. All I can say is thank God for Thorazine.

  20. Don’t look now, but Dontre Willis’ stikes to balls ratio is going the wrong direction. The Marlins’ ERA went up over almost a point last week, which shows their pitching ain’t that great. I predict the dreaded “dead arm” scenario for DerailedTrain Willis.

    I believe with the schedule the Braves and Marlins both have this week (Padres/Astors and Dodgers/Padres resp.), we will see if Larry Bowa gets to keep his job. Playing the same teams they just took 4 out of 6 from last week (St. Louis and Ariz.), they are the favorites to be at least tied for the division league. If they can’t win both of those series with Roboto Hernandez out of action, Bowa’s a goner.

  21. I just read on that Mazzone thinks the Rockies’ move to a four man rotation is a “great idea.” Any chance that since he thinks it is such a great idea for the Rockies he’ll actually try it himself? Something tells me the answer is no, but it still seems to me like the Braves would be better off with Wright coming out of the pen…

  22. They had an opportunity to skip Wright’s start coming up because of the off day, but instead they’re scrambling the rotation. So, no.

  23. Speaking of Blauser and turning points in the Braves history…

    I’m not sure Jeff ever got the credit he deserved for helping to turn the ’93 season around. Sure we all remember the pressbox fire and the Fred McGriff two-run game-tying homer that sparked one of the greatest division comebacks ever, but who remembers the three-run shot by Blauser two batters before that to make the score 5-3 against St. Louis? Blauser doesn’t hit that and it’s probably safe to say that the Braves finish six or seven games behind San Fran.

    Reminiscing about this stuff sure is more fun than discussing yesterday’s Coors field debacle.

  24. For some reason, I feel that Wright is probably going to be more effective in a starter role than out of the bullpen.

  25. Curse, no curse, whatever. It’s just that that play really accurately portrays the beauty and mystery of baseball

    I’d like to think of it so positively, but that was just a nasty, nasty game:
    –Leading 5-0, Neagle starts to implode, hindered by the ump getting in Jermaine Dye’s way as he tries to field a pop foul
    –Belliard’s flub that preceded the HR
    –After getting two quick outs, two guys reach, and Bobby orders Avery to intentionally walk the bases loaded to pitch to….WADE BOGGS! Yeah, struggling pitcher vs. patient hitter with bases juiced.
    –Boggs then walks; another run scores on a Klesko error – hmmm, wonder if that had anything to do with Klesko only getting into two games at 1B that year – FEWER THAN EDDIE PEREZ!
    –Pendeleton fittingly makes the final out
    –The f*****g Yankees win, and win, and win

    They had an opportunity to skip Wright’s start coming up because of the off day, but instead they’re scrambling the rotation. So, no.

    Of course, wright is pitching better than either of our nominal aces

    but who remembers the three-run shot by Blauser two batters before that to make the score 5-3 against St. Louis

    I do – I was at that game! It helped shut up the obnoxious cards fan next to us :-)

  26. I’ve never been able to figure out how Neagle’s inability to pitch with a 5-run lead is almost never mentioned in regard to that WS game.

    Finishing out that game should have been easier than walking the dog.

  27. Yeah I almost forgot. The Umpiring in that series was horrible! Umpires interfering with plays, looking lost. Calling Marquis Grissom out on a steal of second when he was clearly safe. Urgh! Those guys needed to have their pay docked after that mess.

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