I’m working tomorrow and will go to be at about 10, and so won’t have time to recap until the morning. Suffice it to say that this isn’t the first time that the Braves have done this. For some reason, the infielders and pitchers on this club have this need to try to do too much on groundballs sometime. And it backfires way too often, and once it’s happened once in an inning it tends to spiral out of control. The Cardinals scored four runs without hitting a ball even well, and it wasn’t basically “errors” in the sense of misfielding the ball. It was “errors” in the sense of trying to make a near-impossible play and instead making things worse. If the Braves had played routine defense, the Cardinals would not have gotten more than two runs in the inning and probably would have been held to one. Instead, the Cards got six and while there’s a long way to go the Braves are very unlikely to win this.
MORE ON THE SUBJECT: I’m still stewing about this and will probably rant more tomorrow. But essentially, baseball is a game of big innings, and the worst thing you can do is give the other team a big inning by trying to keep them from having a small one. This is the logical extention of the Weaver/Sabermetric argument against the sacrifice bunt. If you shouldn’t give away outs on offense, you certainly shouldn’t refuse them on defense. It’s actually worse, because at least the team which bunts is getting something out of the bunt (putting a runner in scoring position) while the team that refuses outs on defense doesn’t gain anything. If the Cardinals come back to score one run and tie the game, fine. The Braves have a pretty good lineup and the Cards have a rookie pitcher with a 10 ERA. But even a rookie pitcher with a 10 ERA has a pretty good chance to hold a five-run lead for four innings and get it to the pen.
At any event, while I am critical at times of the differentiation between earned and unearned runs, there are times when it makes some sense. Like when you require the pitcher to get six outs in the inning (even if “you” are the pitcher in one instance) and everything — well, everything before the homer — is a ground ball.