St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 28, 2009 – ESPN

1. Sometimes you do the wrong thing, and it works out anyway.
2. But at some point, it will backfire.

For point one, consider Tony LaRussa. He apparently told his pitchers not to throw Chipper Jones any strikes. This makes a certain about of surface sense, in that Chipper has hitting behind him Casey Kotchman, who has no home runs on the season, and Jeff Francoeur, who has looked hapless at the plate for the past week. Conventional theory (traditional and sabermetric) is that you shouldn’t walk someone every time up — certainly not with a runner at first base! — and that it will eventually backfire. The first three times Chipper was walked, it did not.

And consider Matt Diaz. With two out and the bases loaded, the Braves trailing 1-0 in the eighth, he swung at what looked for all the world like ball four. But he made contact, and the shortstop didn’t get a good jump, and the ball trickled through the infield for a two-run single to give the Braves the lead, and eventually win the game. Now, I don’t know what even Matt Diaz, a bad-ball hitter, would hit on that pitch and that swing, but I doubt it’s .200. It’s sure as hell not as high as what his OBP would be if he didn’t swing at it. But it worked. This time.

Also, the runner who scored the eventual winning run was Chipper. Again, if you do the wrong thing, eventually it will bite you.

Joseph Reyes was outstanding tonight, though he got a no-decision; at least he didn’t get hung with a loss like Jurrjens last night. He went seven innings, throwing 92 pitches. He struck out seven and walked one. He had a hit batsman in the first inning that eventually scored on an infield single, and thus left losing 1-0 because the Braves couldn’t score. Moylan pitched the eighth and wound up with the win; Gonzalez struck out the side (including Pujols, after going down 3-0) in the ninth for the save.

The Braves blew a lot of chances to score over the first seven innings; they stranded eight runners and hit into three double plays (two by Francoeur), and Escobar caused me to christen the term “Yunel” for a stupid baserunning mistake that leads to an out, overrunning third base for no good reason in the third and getting tagged out. (It was counted as one of the double plays.)