Nationals 3, Braves 2 (12 innings)

ESPN – Braves vs. Nationals – Box Score – April 30, 2008

This team couldn’t medal at the Special Olympics.

First off, they once again let some random guy — in this case, Shawn Hill — look like Tom Seaver, scratching only one run off him in eight innings. Jair Jurrjens did great, going seven, but gave up a run right after the Braves had taken a 1-0 lead. He is, however, mostly blameless for this latest debacle.

The actual loss is on Bobby’s head, 100 percent. The Braves got a run in the twelfth to take a 2-1 lead. However, they did this after Bobby pinch-ran Martin “The Gazelle” Prado for Teixeira, which was worth absolutely nothing as Prado wound up scoring from third on a Kotsay single. What is more, after Gotay (playing second for KJ) walked to move Kotsay into scoring position, Bobby stupidly let Manny Acosta, who had already thrown two innings in which he had the approximate control of an epileptic howler monkey, hit for himself.

Unsurprisingly, Acosta walked the first man in the next inning. Unsurprisingly, Prado then pulled one of his special no-error horrible misplays — I think that these must now be known as “Prados” — to turn a potential double play into a single, first and second, nobody out. Unsurprisingly, Acosta threw away a sacrifice bunt attempt and the chance to get any out. Unsurprisingly, Acosta walked the next guy on five pitches to tie the game. Unsurprisingly, Buddy Carlyle was unable to pitch out of a bases loaded, none out situation. Surprisingly, I haven’t thrown anything yet.

We aren’t going to win many games where Chipper, McCann, and Francoeur go a combined 0-15. Kotsay did his part with three hits. Escobar had a couple of hits, and so did Teixeira, and Blanco played the leadoff man to a T, a hit and two walks.

103 thoughts on “Nationals 3, Braves 2 (12 innings)”

  1. I admire your restraint, Mac. In 30 seconds, I managed to rearrange and barely avoid destroying my home office.

  2. Maybe the Braves should all get Pascual Perez-style jheri curls as a show of solidarity. It would at least make this team worth watching.

    This team is a jheri curl.

  3. We lost all of these games:

    3-30 – Nationals, Hudson – 7 innings, 2 runs
    4-7 – Rockies, Glavine – 6 1/3 innings, 0 runs
    4-8 – Rockies, Jurrjens – 7 innings, 4 runs
    4-15 – Marlins, Jurrjens – 6 innings, 2 runs
    4-22 – Nationals, Smoltz – 7 innings, 0 runs
    4-29 – Nationals, Glavine – 6 innings, 2 runs
    4-30 – Nationals, Jurrjens – 7 innings, 1 run

    …reading that makes me want to cry more than 0-9 in 1 run games.

  4. I don’t really give up, but trying to compare the 70s and 80s Braves teams to the teams the last three years is like comparing apples and oranges. Everyone knew that the Braves of Chuck Tanner and Russ Nixon were going to suck, and you could take solace in the random bright spots on the team, like seeing Ron Gant come up and do well or watching Dale Murphy play hard day in and day out, even though it was obvious his skills weren’t close to what they were in ’82-’84.

    What sucks about this team is that everyone (except for the Braves themselves, since they can’t seem to put together a fundamentally sound stretch of play for more than an inning or two) knows that the NL East is ripe for the picking, and blame it on injuries all you want, this team is pissing a perfectly good opportunity down their legs.

    What sucks even worse is seeing Smoltzie and Chipper put together unbelievable seasons, considering their ages, and it’s all going to go to waste. I know it’s only April, but this team wouldn’t know how to get hot even if you threw their collective hind ends in a fire.

    When do we start bringing up the minor league kids? At least they’d be playing like they care.

  5. If it helps, I just told Alex that “He has to retire… a dead man could have managed better than that… I have never seen anyone manage an inning that badly.”

  6. Man, .500 is starting to look like a dream. Too much talent for so little production from this team.

  7. You left out Bobby pinchhitting Matt Diaz vs a right hander when Pena was still available. Diaz grounded out which was an improvement over his usual result of a swinging strikeout at a pitch 3 feet outside.

  8. Not to say I told you so, but when I posted a few weeks ago that this was a .500 team if not worse, maybe I was being generous.

  9. Wow, Douglass – that list is astounding when you consider the bats we employ.

    Our pitching can’t stay healthy but it’s our high powered offense that has killed us.

  10. So now to abandan all hope, it’s way too early and wide open for that, but just for the sake of conversation…

    …if we continue to tank, and appear to be out of it by the trade deadline, will Wren do the right thing and move Tex for prospects? We’ve got no shot at signing him, in my opinion, and it would be absolutley criminal to get nothing in return for his services after what we gave away for him would be nothing short of criminal.

    Something tells me that we’ll be about in the same position then that we are now, yet we won’t move Tex. We’ll finish in third again, and Tex will walk at the end of the season, leaving us in an exponentially worse situation than we are now.

    Again, sorry for the doom and gloom, but in all honesty, as the days go by, it’s something that the front office should be moving on.

  11. Maybe this team isn’t as good as we all think. When you watch “star of the future” Jeff “teeny-bopper idol” Francouer flail away like he did in the 12th, you have to wonder about these guys. He has got to be one of the most overrated players in the majors. Maybe Bobby blew the game in the 12th, but what can you say about a so-called great offense that gets shut down by Tim Redding and Shawn Hill in succession. The Braves spend a lot of time talking about how good they are; maybe it’s time they actually started winning some games and maybe it’s team to start paying less attention to being the Pythagorean champions. They pile on runs when they don’t need them and are futile when they do.

  12. If we do move Tex, we damn well better get an up an coming starting pitcher and a MLB average or better CF out of the deal.

  13. Douglass,

    The problem with moving Tex now is that his value is much lower with pending free agency. Unless it’s the Yankees or Red Sox, no one is going to give up much for half a season knowing that he is going to hit the market. But, while it is still early and a pretty mediocre division, I agree that you do have to start considering what to do if things don’t get better.

  14. INteresting article on one-run games. I agree a lot is luck but if you look at the Braves over the last couple of years, it’s not just bad luck. They didn’t lose tonight because of bad luck; they played poorly. You could say that all games have a large element of luck; if the Braves win 10-1, couldn’t you say they were lucky that the other team’s pitcher was bad that night?

  15. I understand that. I disagree that the only teams we could move him too are the Yankees and Red Sox. Sure Tex only has half year left and has Boras as an agent, but there are more than 2 major market teams and every year at the deadline, there are always a few teams willing to give away prospects for a stretch run.

    Will it be more difficult to move Tex than it was for Texas last year? absolutely. But to say that the Yankees and Sox are the only possibilities sounds like trying to justify not moving him at all to me. And if we’re on the outside looking in when the time comes, while I expect us to not move him, it would be a mistake not to.

    We gave away Salty and Andrus to finish 3rd in the NL East this year? …if we don’t resign him, and continue to play as we have thus far, that’s exactly what will have happened. Though it may have been a calculated risk, it would be a mistake not to remedy it if we have an opportunity to do so.

    Hopefully, we’ll turn this thing around and this conversation will be irrelevant by July.

    There’s also the extremely unlikely possibility that we could resign him. That’s all about the $$$ though.

  16. 14 — I don’t really see anybody running away with the NL East (which makes it doubly frustrating that we aren’t doing any better). So the Braves will still consider themselves “in the hunt” for most of the year… not exactly sell mode.

  17. I predict Salty will be a bust and I know you can’t go by stats but Andrus’ stats have been so poor, I just don’t see it. Is he really young for his levels so far?

  18. As far as I can tell, the most one-run losses in a season is 43 by the 1971 Houston Astros. We are currently on pace for 54…

  19. I’m quite certain that nobody’s ever gone through a season without winning a one-run game. I wonder what the record is for latest one-run victory…

  20. Maybe this team isn’t as good as we all think.

    I’m on the record in predicting 82 wins. At this point it looks like even I erred on the high side.

    Bobby stupidly let Manny Acosta

    This…I mean this…it’s just impossible to make this decision and be considered a sane man. Unless every other pitcher is unavailable or you have run out of position players it can’t happen. A one run lead with a gassed bullpen? That’s considered insurmountable to the point you punt the rest of the inning? Don’t we have other coaches in the dugout with functioning brains that can get involved in cases like this? The bottom half of the inning was just punishment for this decision.

  21. 1884 Milwaukee Brewers were winless in one run games… They were 0-1 in their 12 game season in one run games (Union Association).

    See also the 1872 Troy Haymakers of the National Association – again 0-1 in one run games (this time in a 25 game season).

  22. They just don’t manufacture runs and rely on home runs too often, kc. They have little speed at any position and are alot like a beer league softball team. When they are on and bashing, things go well. When they are popping up man after man, it looks comical.

  23. I don’t know if we want Leo back, the offense may actually be the problem instead of pitching…on the other hand, I have been blaming Roger for the poor health of our pitchers.

  24. Chief, while I agree with your assessment, this actually is surprising considering KJ, Yunel, Chipper, Tex, and McCann are all high OBP type of players. You would have thought they can manufacturing runs without the help of speed.

  25. While I don’t know if pinch-running was the right call, but I definitely didn’t like the “don’t pinch hit for Acosta [even if all we had was Lillibridge] and pitch him for another inning [even if our options were, what, Ohman, Resop, and Carlyle?]” move.

    Actually, Carlyle probably would have been fine. He throws strikes, and it wasn’t exactly murderer’s row that was coming up. So yeah, bad keeping Acosta in.

    I guess I most disagree with PH-ing for Jurrjens (he’d have been fine for another inning or two) and then not PHing for Acosta. Yeah, that was bad.

  26. My coach let a reliever hit 3 times this year in 40 games. He was fired yesterday. There were other things involved, but, hey, think about it.

  27. I think you’re almost exactly wrong, Chief. The speed probably has something to do with it — there have been lots of times this year when Chipper and McCann couldn’t get to third on singles to right, or couldn’t score from second on moderately hard-hit singles, etc.

    But the problem is that the team tries too hard to “manufacture runs”, which is a suboptimal strategy. In a situation like today in the twelfth, that’s one thing — one run should have won the game. But in most circumstances the bunts and the other crap will cost you runs. Baseball is a game of big innings, and the Braves’ big innings almost always come on homers, because they’re so intent upon moving runners along that they aren’t trying to string hits together.

    That, by the way, is why the Braves often have explosions with two out, and don’t score runs when they aren’t hitting with two out. Because with two out, you have to get hits to score runs and the rest of that “manufacturing runs” garbage goes out the door. They’d probably be leading the league in runs scored if they just played straight-up baseball.

  28. Acosta had the control of an epileptic howler monkey? That line is defintely a rainbow amidst the storm. I still think the Braves will do better, but I have to admit that Cox’s retirement needs to come very soon.

  29. Mac,

    That’s an interesting theory. I had not thought about that. You are probably right that they subpotimize; Bobby loves to play for one run. But it seems to me that one problem is that they become too anxious and swing at anything. There’s a reason, I think, that they tend to pile on runs. Once they start having a little success, they become more patient and stop trying to do too much. When things are tight, they don’t work the pitcher and they seem to all want to hit a home run. Look at Frenchy’s at bat today in the 12th, 2-0 count and he swings at pitch that even Andruw probably wouldn’t have swung at, then on 2-1, he almost comes out of his hat trying to hit the ball out. It seems to me that you can try too hard in baseball and try to do too much.

  30. Seems like the Hawks are out of luck tonight…they still can’t win on the road and Bibby still can’t buy a jumper. Horford is leading the team in assists and that’s not going to work.

  31. That’s probably part of it, too — though a lot of players suffer from overaggression with runners on base. They may be a bit more overaggressive than other teams.

  32. great line here…

    “I don’t have any excuses,” said Acosta, when asked if he got tired during this 48-pitch appearance.

    48 freakin pitches Bobby, thats inexcusable and your should apologize to the team and the fans.

  33. I don’t blame Acosta much. Though he didn’t pitch well, he did give the Braves 2 scoreless innings, and that should have been it…

  34. And who are they going to call up to replace him in the rotation – I’d really like to see Reyes again just to see if that heel adjustment has made a difference.

  35. But the problem is that the team tries too hard to “manufacture runs”, which is a suboptimal strategy.

    Maybe it’s because the other team I watch a lot is the Angels who love that crap but I don’t see the Braves doing that more than anybody else. The reason the offense is not getting it done like we’d hoped they would is that they are 23rd in OPS with runners in scoring positions (ahead of Wash, Cubs, Pitt, SD, Col, Tor, SF) and 27th in OPS in close and late situations (ahead of Cleveland, Oakland and – wait for it – San Diego), yet 3rd in OPS overall.

    Basically we’ve got Choking Dog Syndrome. Most would say it’s bad luck and will correct itself but this team has made me question that principle.

  36. And I will agree that Cox DOES over-manage quite a bit, but I don’t think you can base his skills on that alone. He can bring a clubhouse together like noone else. I would like to see a change in management, but you guys are starting to sound like Mets fans with Willie.

  37. And Mac, I agree that we bunt a bit too much and so forth, but I also think Cox’ hand is forced quite a bit in alot of situations. Most teams can move runners to third when a runner is on second with nobody out without bunting – I don’t think I would rely on too many people in our lineup getting that done. Either too stubborn or just don’t have the ability. It’s simple baseball, yet nobody on this team can do it (and that is why we lose all the one run games – we can’t manufacture those little runs)

  38. I think Acosta is going into the rotation, which may be part of the reason why he was given the third inning of work. He hadn’t pitched in five days, and right now everyone in the rotation is a question mark except for JJ. So Cox may have been trying to “stretch the arm” of Acosta in preparation for his new role. Obviously, it didn’t work out.

  39. Okay, 24 starts in the upper minors, and a handful of major league starts. I still think he needs more time; he’s not even averaging 5 IP per start at Richmond.

  40. You know, I’m going to look at the positive side of things. At least the Braves aren’t in the west anymore, because they would certainly be dead in the division. Only three back in the east. Would be 7.5 back in the west. Nobody is catching the DBacks in the west this year.

  41. My common sense tells me that the one run game record is extreme bad luck.

    My emotions say that we’re done.

    In Moneyball, Billy Beane tries not to watch any games at all because the emotional aspect of it would ruin his decision-making.

    Baseball season is really, really long. Things will get better, we’re not this bad.

  42. braves14, it’s not just this year. We were the worst team in baseball last year in one run games, remember? And we are losing ground while playing a soft schedule, and many of our key players are on the DL, were on the DL or – in all likelyhood – will be on the DL again. Granted, it’s a long season, but I simply don’t see much reason for hope.

    Mac, you can blame whoever you want. One night it’s the pitching, one night it’s the offense, one night it’s the manager. Truth to be told, it’s a TEAM thing. This team sucks. With all their talent and everything, they will never win anything because they are no gamers. They don’t have the mental toughness to come through in close situations. And it’s not just 2007/08. I follow the Braves since 1991, and ever since then they have lost almost every important close game. Two World Series included.

  43. Man, I have been, and still am, somewhat optimistic about Hampton returning (call me crazy). But man, he has gotten hurt an epic number of times.

  44. Oh, and its 5:45 in the morning here in the ATL and I am still studying for a final. Awesome.

  45. It’s 01.15 p.m. in Hamburg, Germany and I am for the first time this season feeling that this year will be or continue to be really painful to watch the Braves. After yesterday’s game I am just so frustrated by Bobby’s managing, our bullpen, many of our offensive players, the injury situation. This just won’t be our year (again).

    Go Braves.

  46. Please give me some good things to look for this weekend!
    The Reds games will be on my local Fox Sports and I’ve been looking forward to it since January. My first real good look at the team.

    Should I hope that Bobby gets tossed early each game in case it gets close?

  47. What is the team record for walking in the most runs in a season? Is it just me, or does it seem like this has happened way too much this year?

  48. A) this has the potential to be a season just as long as last year (with lots of little fits and starts to make you think they might pull out a little streak and win something)
    B) Is it wrong of me to hope that the Fish can take the east if we can’t? Mets and Phils aren’t over-performing (or are, depending on how you look at it), but it looks like the Marlin’s run at the top spot in the east is likely to end soon. I’d rather have a penny pinching team with a former Braves coach managing them win than either the Mets or the Phils.

  49. I can’t root for the Marlins. It’s already annoying enough that they won 2 championships while the Braves managed only one during their streak of division titles.

  50. As a 264th Cherokee, I object to the name “Braves” for these guys.

    I demand they be renamed “The Atlanta Choking Bastards”.

  51. The team is pretty much playing like last year. Their OPS in late innings last year was very low as I recall someone here calculating it. The fact is, regardless of the bullpen problems, the pitching has been pretty solid and this offense was supposed to make up for some shortcomings. But it never does. The bullpen is obviously problematic but, really, it would be ok if the offense was more consistent. Obviously, there are some good players but, overall, maybe the lineup isn’t as potent as it’s supposed to be and perhaps the youth of some of the players is a factor as well. KJ’s numbers since August are poor, Frenchy is a guy that always looks much better than he plays. Then you have Kotsay in CF, who has actually done better than expected but is hardly an offensive star, and Diaz, who is a solid hitter against lefties, less so against righties and has fairly limited power. Yunel is good but still learning; he is a much better shortstop than Renteria but not as reliable a hitter. McCann is solid. It is generally a team of free swingers with not a whole lot of plate discipline. Of course, even given that, a team with Chipper and Tex in the middle of the lineup should still be better than this.

    Despite all the work people do with the numbers, there is still a certain indefinable quality that winning teams have. They come together in a certain way that no one can really predict–who would have expected the ’91 Braves to go 55-27 in the second half of the year. This team has simply not come together. They just don’t play solid ball consistently, especially on the road. With all the mocking people do here about the “Natspos”, I was at the game Tuesday and, if the teams didn’t have their names on the front, I would defy anyone to say that the team in gray was better than the team in white. One team was playing with confidence and the other was not.

    The Braves have certainly gotten off to bad starts in the past but the difference is those teams were used to winning (and were simply better teams)and pretty much knew things would turn around. This team largely has no experience with winning and, while I’m sure the team is better than they are playing, I suspect their upside is fairly limited, especially without Smoltz in the rotation.

  52. Man, I have been, and still am, somewhat optimistic about Hampton returning (call me crazy).

    Mike, you are crazy.

    Anyway, I think our pitching’s been a pleasant surprise. The injury bug has ravaged both the rotation and the bullpen, and we’ve still managed to pitch relatively well.

    I just don’t get this team so far, particularly the offense. Even with all the injuries we’ve had, we’ve still been “in” the vast majority of these games we’ve lost. We just haven’t performed late in games. Of course, when you have managing like we saw in the 12th inning yesterday, there’s only so much the team can do.

  53. I dont think you can honestly say that McCann is solid right now. Yes, he’s tearing the cover off the ball with no one on base, but look at these numbers..Kind of shocking

    overall 27-98 .276Avg 5HR 12RBI .333OBP

    vs LH 12-36 .335AVG .385OBP
    RH 15-62 .242AVG .304OBP

    bases empty 18-53 .340avg .352OBP .679SLG
    RISP 3-29 .103avg .182OBP .172SLG
    RISP w 2 outs 2-16 .125AVG .125OBP .188SLG

    I know McCann is better than this, but it appears that he’s just up there hacking at the first pitch when people are on base and he’s probably a little more patient with no one on. If he’s going to continue hitting in the 5 hole behind Chipper and Tex, these numbers will have to get better

  54. Again, nobody is running away with this divison. The Mets got blown out by the Pirates of all teams. Every team in our division sucks, which is good for our Braves.

    I think that when Hampton enters the ballpark Johnny Cash’s song “Pain” should be played over the loudspeakers. It goes like this

    “I hurt myself today
    to see if I still feel
    I focus on the pain
    the only thing that’s real.”

    The Chorus is the Braves’ theme for 2008

    “I will let you down
    I will make you hurt”

    You can probably find the video online too. Hampton reminds me of Johnny cash the way he is hunched over, moving slowly from the mound.

  55. Those are very telling stats, csg. McCann has to learn to maintain an intelligent approach at the plate in high-pressure situations.

    Of course, I see no concern about the team’s general lack of hitting intelligence among the coaching staff. Csg shouldn’t be the one bringing up those numbers; it should be Terry Pendleton at the batting cage today, but I doubt that will happen. It’s very frustrating. The stats paint a picture of a talented team that has no idea how to execute at crucial moments. Their lack of plate discipline is an organizational failing that no one in the organization will acknowledge.

    I can’t help but feel that the Braves are puttering around in the equivalent of a Model T while organizations like the Red Sox use complex data and objective analysis to constantly improve their teams. Do you think other teams would allow Francoeurnikova to maintain his “approach” at the plate? I don’t, and it’s possible that the supportive culture Bobby Cox fosters in the clubhouse is coddling players’ weaknesses.

  56. That’s what I meant. Johnny’s version is much more memorable, especially with Mark Romanek directing the video. One of the best music videos ever made.

  57. I don’t think it’s a matter of not allowing Francouer to maintain his approach; he is what he is and it’s unrealistic to expect him to change. I think other teams, however, would not have originally viewed Francouer as highly as the Braves do. The Braves seem to look at the Georgia boys through slightly rose-colored glasses, perhaps because they are easier to sign.

  58. I think other teams, however, would not have originally viewed Francouer as highly as the Braves do. The Braves seem to look at the Georgia boys through slightly rose-colored glasses, perhaps because they are easier to sign.

    Then you don’t remember his senior year of HS very well. Francoeur was widely considered one of the best hitters in that draft. The sort of raw power and ahtleticism he has is coveted by every organization—some would likely have done a much better job improving his selectivity, though.

  59. Isn’t it interesting that we’re down to our 4th string closer who hung in there okay until the bottom fell out last night? No Soriano/Gonzalez or Moylan. Many teams don’t have 4 good relievers much less 4 people they’d hand the ball to in the 9th. I’m not saying we’d pick Acosta over any of the other guys – it’s just a precarious situation.

  60. …made even more precarious by asking him to pitch 3 times longer than he had all year when there were other available arms waiting in the bullpen.

  61. worst managing I’ve ever seen. Using Prado to run for Teixiera gives you no advantage. If we cant score a guy from 2nd with no outs then we dont deserve to win. Prado should’ve been saved and should’ve hit for Acosta with two outs and a RISP. There is no justification in losing a game when letting your closer hit for himself and then letting him lose all control in his 3rd inning of relief before pulling him. He definitely should’ve been pulled after missing that bunt right back to him, his was totally distracted at that point.

  62. If the Bucs and Giants are picking up the bulk of Morris’ salary, then, yes, the Braves should take a chance on him.

  63. On the issue of leaving Acosta in.

    I once read the 1 innng save percentages for “all major league pitchers.” Basically, with a 3 run lead, it is over 90% even going back into the “pre-closer” era. Then it drops. I think it is 70% or so with a 1 run lead (may be wrong on that).

    IF Acosta had not already had so many walks, I might have agreed with Bobby. But clearly, he was not sharp. Then, he hadn’t gone that far at least all of this pre-season and season (and maybe a lot farther back that that).

    Carlyle wasn’t a GOOD option, but he was better than a 3rd inning of Acosta JUST TO WIN THAT GAME. But really, if Acosta goes down now, doesn’t it even look a lot more stupid?

  64. Wasn’t Campillo available? I.e., weren’t there options other than Carlyle?

    Cox might also have considered using Bennett for more than 1/3 of an inning.

  65. Blanton for heyward? i hope we are not going all-in for one last pennant right now, this year. I am starting to feel queasy about the Teix. trade, which was a great gamble if we had won one of last year or this year.

    The 1 run inning tactics of Bobby are killing us, and it has happened all season; bunting guys that have no business bunting, and so on. Bobby has great player management and people skills, but has lost quite a bit in his game management skills.

  66. Francoeur really isn’t our biggest problem. Not even our biggest problem in the outfield, which is lacking power.

  67. This is what happens when you play for the tree run homer every night. It is so stupid.

  68. Frenchie isn’t our biggest problem, but the digression on walks is not good. he made decent progress last year, and an uptick of the same degree this year would have turned him into a pretty useful player.

    Add to that the Matt Diaz aggression at the plate and you have some real on-base problems in the line-up, after #4.

  69. Subjectively, I have seen better at bats from Francoeur this year than in the past. Maybe not in the last two games but generally speaking.

  70. Mac, your point in 36 is interesting. So interesting that I forwarded it to a colleague with whom I’ve been arguing of late over the value of sacrifices and small ball. When he pressed me for actual evidence that the Braves play small ball more than other teams I looked up the NL stats from last year and there was only one team that had fewer sacrifices than the Braves. That hardly seems like a club that is playing small ball. Is there actual non-anecdotal evidence that Bobby is playing this type of baseball?

  71. Well, what happened last year is that the Braves tried to bunt a lot, especially late in the year, and failed. Bobby would send pinch-hitters up to bunt and they’d strike out.

    But what I mean is stuff like, well, yesterday, when McCann was praised for grounding out to first base. They’ve taken this to a whole new level, where they’re not even trying to get hits with runners on base and less than two out.

  72. For what it is worth, sac. stats do not take into account failed sacrifices. I have seen at least twice this year (and i don’t watch that much) Diaz try and bunt until he had 2 strikes, at which point the value of the at-bat is pretty washed up (I know he is a good 2 strike hitter, but the odds of success with 2 strikes go way down).

  73. @64 timoreg: Are you German?

    If yes, hast Du vielleicht Lust mir mal eine E-Mail zu schicken: frankschildheuer Würde mich freuen einen deutschen Bravesfan kennenzulernen.

    If no, you may wonder what I was talking about in my last sentence.

  74. Bobby’s long suit has never been game management. Remember Liebrant in to face Kirby Puckett? Oy!

    Bobby Cox is the Bill Curry of play-calling. Whatever inspiration you have, do the opposite.

  75. Interestingly enough, the Braves are making a good argument that luck has less influence on one-run games than previously thought.

    Rather, it appears to me that attributing a team’s W-L record in one-run games to luck assumes that the team is playing in the same manner they would regardless of the score. Of course, that opens up a vault of complex questions, including, “How exactly does a team change its style of play according to specific game situations? Should they?”

    But these 0-9 Braves have demonstrated that eschewing plate discipline in favor of swinging for the fences doesn’t get the job done. Shrewd managing (or lack thereof) plays a role, as does the effectiveness (perhaps even experience) of a team’s bullpen. It’s all very tough to quantify; not even scholars like Bill James have been able to do it yet.

    It’s difficult to lose nine coin flips in a row. There has to be something that this team can change.

  76. It seems to me that the concept of one-run games is pretty arbitrary. It’s odd that they have lost nine straight one-run games in the same way it would be odd if they lost nine straight games by the same score, say 5-2. If Felipe Lopez had hit a home run, it would not have been a one-run loss. Several of the one-run losses have been like that, where the Braves come back and fall short. Similarly, some of their wins could have been one-run wins if they hadn’t scored more. The overall record in one-run games is largely luck because the specific score of a given game is arbitrary. So the Braves have lost nine games that happened to be decided by one run; that part is random but it’s not random that the Braves have played poorly enough to lose those games.

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