Pirates 12, Braves 11 (12 innings)

ESPN – Pirates vs. Braves – Box Score – March 31, 2008

So, it’s two of my least favorite types of games: the “Get out to an early lead, then the offense goes into hibernation while the bullpen blows it,” and “Rally from way behind to tie it, only to wind up losing anyway.”

Tom Glavine did what he usually does. He worked from behind a lot, gave up lots of hits, especially on singles to center, but kept the ball in the park and managed to escape largely unscathed. He allowed two runs, one earned; you know what I think about “unearned” runs, but this one came home on a two-out error on a routine grounder to KJ (who soon left the game because his knee was bothering him). If you allow lots of baserunners (Tom allowed nine in his five innings) that’s going to happen.

Still, he was ahead 4-2 (having, among other things, scored the Braves first run after drawing a walk in the third) but the bullpen collapsed. First, Resop allowed a run in the sixth, then Bobby used three relievers in the seventh, Ohman, Moylan, and Ring, but the Pirates tied it up. Then Manny Acosta went completely Kolbous, allowing four runs on a pair of homers in the eighth to make it 8-4. A run off of Bennett in the ninth made it 9-4.

Cue the ultimately fruitless rally. A bases-loaded walk to Escobar made it 9-5. Chipper’s single made it 9-7. Teixeira popped out, and seemingly so did McCann — but the Pirates misplayed the fly ball and two runs scored. Two “earned” runs. See? Francoeur couldn’t get the next run home to win it, and we went to extras.

Soriano got through the tenth, then Boyer the eleventh, but in his second inning of work he fell apart and allowed a three-run homer. The Braves almost rallied again, getting a run on Francoeur’s homer and another on a single by Diaz, but Abe Miller flew out to end the game.

Credit where it’s due department: Kotsay had two hits and two walks, and scored twice. Escobar was outstanding, going 3-4 with two walks, three RBI, and two runs scored.

92 thoughts on “Pirates 12, Braves 11 (12 innings)”

  1. Escobar’s error did hurt.

    I don’t mind the loss, sure it sucks to have stayed up late, but I like the fight the team showed. The guys in the pen seemed a little too pumped and were over throwing.

    We won’t lose today!

  2. Sorry if I missed this discussion (no way I’m scrolling through 560+ posts of despair), but if Miller had managed to tie the game, would he have pitched the 13th? Hudson, Hampton, and Jurrjens were the only other players left.

    Record set (I’m sure): Most pitchers used in a March regular season game….

  3. I’d say he could be a decent off the bench guy. He’d be better as a backup than prado. Of course that’s not saying too much. I hope he has his personal stuff handled though.

  4. Hmmm, I’m kind of glad that mlb.tv didn’t work last night. Don’t think I would have liked to witness that loss.

  5. Jurrjens was warming up. I thought it was a fun game with a bad out come. Anyone worried about the bullpen yet?

  6. Adam mentioned the new REM album at the end of the last thread. I heard it’s actually good. (I haven’t liked any of their albums since “Automatic for the People”, to be honest.)

  7. I’m not yet worried because it is early, but it was worrying how Bobby tore through them last night. That may be because of him or the bullpen, though.
    As long as Spiezio dyes his soulpatch thing blue, I think he’ll be a good addition.

  8. Obviously too early to “panic” but these first two games have had a disturbingly familiar feel;it’s as if 2007 never ended. First game, no offense. Second game, inconsistent offense, bad relief pitching, problems in late innings. Scoring 11 runs is misleading because they wouldn’t have scored the last four if not for the Pirates blunders and they really didn’t do much hitting. You can blame the bullpen but all the Braves had to do was score in the 10th or 11th. Typical Francoeur game, go 0-4 or something, then hit a home run in basically a meaningless situation to bolster the numbers. As for them showing “fight”, what fight did they show? The Pirates essentially gave them the five runs in the 9th and then they did nothing until they were behind again.

    However, I guarantee that the Braves will win some games this year.

  9. The new album is supposed to be a little like New Adventures in Hi-Fi…a bit of a return to the band’s roots as, you know, a rock band. Definitely solid, but not life-changing.

  10. I am glad that I missed the game, but we should remember that last season the Braves got off to a great start and couldn’t sustain it. Maybe the opposite will happen in 2008….

  11. FYI for anyone on DirecTV:

    I didn’t think I was going to be able to see last night’s game, but I flipped around and finally found the game on DirecTV channel 617. The channel ID was BRVS, and it said it was a Braves Alternate Station. It was the Peachtree TV feed, but oddly there were no commercials. When it was time for a normal commercial break, the feed just went to the view from the camera high above home plate until the commercials were over. It was weird, you felt like you were at the game, because you could hear everything going on at the stadium. There were also a few times where the camera guy would move the camera around, or people would start talking, unaware that someone, somewhere was watching them on TV. Anyway, that may be common knowledge, but I stumbled upon it last night, and I was just trying to pass the knowledge.

  12. Typical Frenchy game marc?

    That’s funny because I remember him getting quite a few late game clutch hits last year…. But maybe you were watching a different game than me,

  13. I should have never stayed up for that whole game last night… what a waste of quality sleep.

    Anyone else a little worried about our bullpen?

  14. I’m not worried about the pen, I’m more worried about how Bobby uses our guys. In the first game we ended up with Prado at first, dont know if he’s ever played there before. Pena was used as a pinch hitter and Blanco was brought in to pinch run in a situation where he wasnt given the green light. Last night Bobby used 3 relievers in 1 inning and ultimately that left Boyer out there and 40 pitches later he gave up a crucial 3 run bomb. Resop, Ring, and Moylan are only given one batter, but Acosta who was terrible gets the full inning and gives up 4 runs on over 30 pitches. Its feast or famine with these decisions, but we’re 0-2 and we’ve played the Gnats and Pirates. Gross

  15. Marc – typical Francoeur?

    Say what you will about his plate discipline, but I feel like Frenchy has shown a penchant for coming up big when it counts.

  16. #9

    Smitty…I guess for me the game is just NEVER fun whenever the Braves lose. if we win a game like that, I can call it fun.

    Look, teams get off to slow starts, so even me, mr. pessimist, isn’t going to panic yet.

    That being said, I do have concerns about this offense and this bullpen.

    So far, the starting pitching has been effective enough though maybe a smokescreen considering how many base hits Glavine gave up.

    I remember “cringing” when we traded Rentaria, and I have carried some deep seeded fears for months now that trading Edgar was going to hurt this team and that Escobar wouldn’t be able to match his output in his 2nd year.

    I hope to heck I am wrong.

    But the Braves need a win tomorrow to shake off a bad start.

  17. well Escobar had a very strong offensice night last night. I really think that if tex had streched towards his throw, instead of towards the 1st base line, he doesnt have to dig it out of the ground. I think Escobar is one of the players that we dont have to worry about

  18. Marc,

    I definitely don’t want to have a 2nd day in a row of you & I getting into it, but I think Frenchy’s actually going to have a great year – possibly his best yet. Just my guess.

  19. #24

    csg – I definitely hope you’re right. I just felt that Edgar, even just his presence at the top of the order, made us better by osmosis.

  20. Edgar is the ultimate professional and I dont think Escobar can match the production that he gave us. I do think that Escobar will fill in nicely there, but I’m more worried about other aspects of the team

  21. I didn’t really have a problem with the ‘pen usage. Glavine threw a lot of pitches, so he was done after five. One inning from Resop, then in the seventh Cox went with the lefty/righty matchups (and had the “handedness” advantage for every hitter) to try and protect a one-run lead. Then, had it held up, Acosta in the 8th and Soriano in the 9th. That still leaves Bennett and Boyer. The game just went haywire, that’s all.

  22. #28 – thats true and you make a good point, but after watching this team we always seem to end up with games like that one. Early lead, blow it, come back, lose it in extras.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but we shouldn’t have lost either game. I’m not worried yet. Just need to win the series

  23. Alex,

    I’m not going to get into it today with you or anyone else. I’m sorry about yesterday; life’s too short. I will retract my statement about Frenchy (although I still think he is overrated); it just seems the Braves in general score a lot runs when they are well behind instead of when it would actually win the game. I agree with you about the offense, I have never been completely sold on it because it seems so sporadic.

    BTW, the Braves started 0-3 in 2003 and were shutout twice by the Expos. They ended up winning 101 games. These games are disturbing but it’s a long season.

    As for Escobar, one error isn’t the end of the world and he has already made some plays that Edgar would not have gotten close to. In general, though, it’s pretty obvious that the Braves aren’t exactly going to be the 1970s Orioles on defense (Brooks, Belanger, etc.).

  24. Cox handled the ‘pen fine, given that today is an off-day. I think i would have preferred he throw Bennett out there for a few innings early if we had a game today, but other than that, he used LOOGY’s as LOOGY’s (which he really didn’t do with McBride last year) and only gave Moylan a brief outing since he’d pitched a lot last night.

    If everyone hadn’t sucked, we’d have been fine.

  25. I’lll agree – distrubing but early is what the game left me feeling. The positive was definitely Escobar and frankly, Glavine. He left with the lead even though he’s still always pitching away, away, away (with an occasional inside.)

    The defense really killed us last night. The whole infield looked like clowns at times. When Chipper tossed that ball past first, I screamed out: “You’re killin’ me Smalls!”

    That said, I picked the Pirates to do a little better this year and they showed they had some life. Just wish it wasn’t against the Braves. Let’s hope this off day helps the fellas get their heads right.

  26. Truth be told, I think Edgar is better than Escobar, sure, but I think Yunel does have the chance to be very, very good. Look, what I saw in 2007 from Yunel was pretty darn impressive.

    I am more seriously concerned about Kelly Johnson who’s shown way too often his ability to go into long, cold streaks. From the top of the order, that could be a real problem.

    If Matt Diaz duplicates what he did in 2007, and assuming Kelly struggles, at some point, there may have to be consideration for flipping them. (well, Diaz to #2 and Yunel leading off).


    Great point about 2003 – however, I think the ’03 team was more talented.

  27. Ouch.

    I know that, at some point in the season, the Mets and Phillies will have an Odalis Perez shut down their offense. Both will probably also lose a wild extra innings game to a team that hasn’t had a winning season in 15 years.

    But to have this stuff happen in the first two games of the season? That’s just brutal. I think I’ll take a couple days away from baseball.

  28. As Mac pointed out, Kotsay had a good game. I like that he didn’t go up there swinging for the fences. He sets a good example.

  29. Two games. I’m not quite ready to take a long walk off a short peer. Our bullpen is better than 11 runs in 8 2/3.

    What’s the deal with Spezio?

  30. THe jump gets me fired up! i wish he wouldn’t swing for the fences like he did in his last at bat.

  31. Don’t forget Chipper’s hustle on the Jason Bay play. Yes, players are supposed to hustle but not many do so as seriously as Chipper did on what seemed like a routine fly.

  32. Thanks Remy.

    Is there a reason why the commenter numbers on the right have been reset?

  33. Alex @ 34,

    No doubt–that team was much, much better. I was just using it as an extreme example of how you can’t get too bent out of shape about two games. I fear,however, that losing these kinds of games is starting to get in the Braves heads as even Chipper seemed to indicate the other night.

  34. Look, this law of averages stuff does not help me.

    The truth is that losing two games like we just did does not decrease the likelihood it will happen tomorrow night. We just lost two games we certainly should have won, to second division teams no less, in a year where we expect the division to be decided by a game or two.

    It’s Bobby’s job to keep the players level-headed, but as a fan, I am pretty pissed.

  35. If Spezio is healthy and back on track (not messing around in Aybar territory) then he might be a decent pick up. I’m certainly not sold on the bench as is.

  36. @ 36 – I also love the Escobar jump before he bats. Actually, I just really like watching that kid play. I know he is going to make some throwing errors, etc., but he is exciting, seems to play really hard, and he has a cannon for an arm.

  37. Don’t forget some love for Chipper–not many players would have hustled that hard on what seemed like a routine fly.

  38. This year is a make or break year for Frenchy. I think he’ll take another step forward, but I understand those who would disagree. He is at a point where things will go drastically up or drastically down. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  39. Johnson is playing well.

    Escobar is playing VERY well. As is Chip and Frency and BMac.

    That 0-6 from Tex is a bit disturbing. I know he will turn it on, but there is no reason, NONE, that we should have lost this game.

    again, that 0-6 from Tex is EXACTLY what 1B would have done for us last year. I just hope that we don’t have to go through another 3 months before our 1B production is at least AVERAGE.

  40. Me too, JoshQ. I was surprised last night to see Francoeur take a first pitch on the outside corner that he could probably have actually hit.

  41. Tex started slow last year. 1B is among the least of my worries.

    Francoeur’s only going to turn 24. It seems like it’s been a while, but it still may not be make-or-break time yet.

  42. honestly, the only problem i have with how bobby used the bullpen is that the lefties he way “loogying” are not david ortiz or ryan howard…regardless of how much of a “breakout player” mclouth is going to be, the only player that i would consider using a loogy against on pitt is Laroche…a good example is bobby using Ohman against willie friggin harris on sunday, then using moylan for the rest of the inning. cmon. harris is just awful, righty or lefty, and i think overdoing it like that hurt us. ring may not be great against righthanders, but he could have pitched 2 innings last night rather than face one batter. and bennett should have pitched longer as well IMO, if he is the long reliever 1.2 innings is not enough going into extra innings

  43. I don’t see how you can criticize Rafael Furcal (as many did) for his DUIs and then pick up Spiezio, who actually was arrested for assault. Unless the Braves don’t care about character at all, this doesn’t make sense. And don’t give me this BS about how he has reformed and is sorry and so forth. That doesn’t cut it. This just shows that, for all the talk teams do about valuing character, they will put talent ahead of that every time–not that Spiezio is some great player. I think it’s outrageous that they signed him–at least wait a decent interval to see how the legal issues play out. What he did (or is alleged to have done) is far worse than what Bonds did–Bonds didn’t hurt anyone directly other than possibly himself. (I’m not saying, of course, that Bonds shouldn’t be held accountable for perjury.)

  44. I agree with Blake on the use of LOOGYs. There was no need to use Ohman against Harris on Sunday. The right handers have got to be able to get lefties out sometime.

    As for Tex, chill out. I saw Hank Aaron go 0-24 or something one year. That’s baseball.

  45. Not that I have any great love for Spiezio and have no idea how it will work out just yet, but I would think someone deserves a second chance IF they have reformed. I really don’t know what Spiezio has to do with Bonds.

    I would not like to sign a guy that is troubled (again, no desire to relive Aybar) but they met with the guy and seem to like what he was telling them. Either he’s a really good with the lie or Bobby trusts that he’s turned a corner.

  46. I’ve seen Yunel jump around and also he always draws a line in the LH batters box as well. Interesting….

    Hopefully Hampton will give us our first win of the season tomorrow night. I still havent seen the ovation that Glavine received. Hopefully it was a great one

  47. Not gonna go crazy about the first 2 games. Both tough losses, sure. Just gotta turn it around & try to beat up on these relatively lesser teams. And I agree that the Braves are going to score some runs.

    Re: R.E.M.
    For those interested, here’s their performance at the SXSW show in Austin last month. Much of the newer, faster, shorter, more stripped-down material is included.

  48. All this talk of Yunel’s mannerisms reminds me of how Hank Aaron would kneel in the on-deck circle, his batting helmet beside him, or how Roberto Clemente would go through a series of neck rotations and shoulder rolls before entering the batter’s box. Some batters would rub their hands with dirt. Seems so long ago.

  49. Marc, I don’t even understand your point re: Spezio.

    The comparison to Furcal—the Braves let Furcal go over money, not because he’s a repeat DUI offender.

    The comparison to Bonds—what does he have to do with anything? There’s no comparison to be made there. Is Spezio a known a-hole? Is he facing felony charges? Is he disliked by literally every coach, player and fan associated with the game?

    If your point is that we shouldn’t give Spezio a second chance, I disagree. (I also trust that the Braves did their homework on him before signing him.)

  50. for some reason I just dont think this will be our only two game losing streak of the season

  51. Speaking of second chances – it appears that Eric Campbell is still suspended. Can anyone here elaborate on his status?

  52. First, I also agree that people in life deserve a 2nd chance.

    Second, does anyone else find it ironic that Tony “DUI” LaRussa would let a player go because of something stupid off the field HE did?

    Tony…meet pot…pot…meet kettle…meet black.


    Not worried at all about Tex. Unlike Andruw, I believe Tex will perform up to expectations in a contract year.

  53. Bonds beats women. He’s not a victimless offender. On the issue of whether PEDs are a victimless crime, I’ll pass. I’m not sorry he’s not on our team.

    I don’t really feel one way or another about Spezio. He’s a crappy player, and the DUI is reprehensible. Apparently the team believes that he won’t do it again, not just because of morality but because it would reflect almost as poorly on the Braves as on Spezio himself. I’m with Alex on giving people a second chance. But really, he’s in Richmond. Nothing’s happened yet.

  54. Spiezio plays several positions, and he could help the bench. If he doesn’t cost much, why not take a chance?

  55. The defense really killed us last night. The whole infield looked like clowns at times. When Chipper tossed that ball past first, I screamed out: “You’re killin’ me Smalls!”

    Yeah, our infield defense is looking like it’s going to be pretty rough this year. Might have been able to get six out of Glavine if he hadn’t had to get four outs in an inning a couple of times on KJ boots.

    Anyway, this team looks like last year’s team so far, they do just enough to lose. Every night it’s a different goat.

  56. If Scotty Speiz can help the team, then I am all for him. Hell, I call the cab for him!

  57. I don’t want to make this into a Bonds defense because I don’t like him at all. First, I did not realize that Bonds had hit women. If he did, I obviously take back what I said about that. I have never heard that. But I don’t understand how you can say that taking PEDs is worse that directly injuring someone. Spiezio actually hurt people. In any event, my point about Bonds (probably exaggerated)was a throw-away; it has nothing to do with whether the Braves should have signed Spiezio.

    Second, I realize Furcal was released because of money but he was criticized a lot on this blog for his DUIs. But Furcal never actually hurt anyone (presumably more by luck than anything else). Why does Spiezio get a pass?

    Third, from my days in law school, I believe that assault is a felony. So, I believe Spiezio is charged with a felony.

    Fourth, a second chance is fine, but he was released a few months ago and you are telling me that he has reformed? I think people were saying that about Aybar as well. I just don’t see why Spiezio gets a pass so easily. Just because he’s not an asshole like Bonds doesn’t mean that you should simply ignore what he has done. Personally, I think LaRussa and anyone else that has a DUI should be suspended for at least some period.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  58. Re: Bullpen Usuage

    We have 8 relievers on the team right now since Smoltz is on the DL. Bobby has the right to go through them quickly right now.

  59. #84, especially with an off day today. I didn’t see anything wrong with the way Bobby used the pen last night. The problem is – of course – that the guys out there don’t look to be very good.

  60. Why does Spiezio get a pass?

    Who says he gets a pass? I certainly don’t condone his actions. That doesn’t mean I expect him to repeat them or that I believe the organization hasn’t done its due dilligence in assuring that he won’t. I criticized Furcal’s indiscretions and I hoped we’d re-sign him.

    Third, from my days in law school, I believe that assault is a felony. So, I believe Spiezio is charged with a felony.

    Missed that part of the story. My mistake. Of course, it doesn’t really change the fact that the Bonds comparison is totally off the mark.

    …he was released a few months ago and you are telling me that he has reformed?

    I obviously can’t speak to whether he has or hasn’t. Apparently, you can. Do you have more information on him than the Braves do? Again, I trust the organization has conducted its own investigation. Until it proves faulty, I’ll trust their analysis of the situation over yours.

    I think people were saying that about Aybar as well.

    Well, the organization wasn’t. They jettisoned Aybar. They signed Spiezio. Apparently, they see a difference between the two, going forward.

    I just don’t see why Spiezio gets a pass so easily. Just because he’s not an asshole like Bonds doesn’t mean that you should simply ignore what he has done.

    Paging the Straw Man…Straw Man, pick up on line 1…

    Who said we should ignore what Spiezio has done? My point was that there are many reasons why a team wouldn’t sign Bonds right now but would sign Spiezio. They’ve both done a lot of bad things. I’m assuming one of them is repentent (we know the other isn’t), and I’m assuming the repentent one is also able to get along with teammates and not serve as a constant distraction we know the other isn’t).

    Personally, I think LaRussa and anyone else that has a DUI should be suspended for at least some period.

    Totally agree with you there.

  61. …and when they suspend LaRussa, he should take his “hateable face” with him.

    But yes, he sould be suspended.

    Spiezio vs. Aybar comparison

    Here’s what I see and my feeling it’s what the Braves see as well.

    Aybar was a guy with problems heaped upon problems. he would disappear for long periods of time, he had a continuous pattern of behavior that frankly made it impossible for the Braves to stick with him.

    Now I don’t know Spiezio personally and I wholeheartedly agree that assault is reprehensible, everyone should, but I have not heard of a history of problems with Spiezio – from what I can tell – it’s an isolated, one time event (not that it doesn’t make it wrong, but I don’t believe he’s ever gotten in trouble before?).

    And Marc, to put this in perspective: would you like the Braves to go ahead and FIRE Bobby Cox today?

    Probably not.

    But Bobby TOO has a one time domestic/assault incident. I haven’t seen Bobby get in trouble for anything like it again and from what I can tell (again, I don’t have all the facts and I have only met Bobby one time) he’s been a good citizen ever since and was before then.

    I think, considering how high profile Bobby Cox is, we would have heard on ESPN if this had ever happened a 2nd time with him. And we all agree Bobby deserved a second chance?

    So why not Spiezio?

  62. Yea a DUI is such a ridiculous thing for a professional athlete or coach to do considering how easily they could afford a taxi. But in general, if you break the law like that you should be suspended just like you would probably be from other jobs. An attorney who gets a DUI is pretty screwed. A baseball player who gets a DUI sets a horrible example for people who are fans and it should be made more apparent that the teams and league abhor that behavior.

    Wife beating though….j/k

  63. Hey I might be going to Friday night’s game. Anyone know who the projected starter might be?

  64. As I read Marc, he’s not arguing that the Braves shouldn’t have signed Spiezio or that he doesn’t deserve a second chance in baseball or in life; just that the signing smells a bit of hypocrisy based on past actions and statements by the organization. In fact, it’s a good point. It’s a strange signing based on the Braves’ precedent.

    But in the end, I don’t care. I don’t care about steroids and I don’t care what Jayson Stark says and I don’t care what a certain player’s politics are… I care about baseball, and if Spiezio can be a good teammate and player, stay out of trouble, and help the Braves win games, I’ll be psyched. Because this has been a ROUGH start to the season.


  65. …the signing smells a bit of hypocrisy based on past actions and statements by the organization. In fact, it’s a good point. It’s a strange signing based on the Braves’ precedent.

    Right, that was (mostly) his point, and I disagree with it. The Braves continued to tolerate Rafael Furcal until he got too expensive. They signed Ken Caminiti and they signed Raul Mondesi. The organization has a history of looking at players’ probable actions/attitudes/character going forward, and I’m assuming the higher-ups feel that, going forward, Spiezio’s not a risk.

  66. I think Hudson would be pitching on Friday. Jurrjens on Wednesday, Hampton on Thursday then back to the top of the order with Hudson on Friday and Smoltz on Saturday. …. At least I hope it goes that way since I will be at the game Saturday to see Smoltz v. Santana!

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