Atlanta 3, Buffalo 1

Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets – Box Score – September 22, 2009 – ESPN

Hey, let’s hear it for the Mets! They actually had a lead! For about five minutes!

Nelson Figueroa — who is, I guess, the closest thing that the Mets have to a staff ace right now, even though he isn’t any good — managed to hold the Braves hitless for the first three innings, with the only baserunner being Jurrjens on a walk. In the bottom of the third, they managed to put together two walks and a single and took a 1-0 lead. That was their highlight.

The Braves rallied back for two runs in the fourth to spoil that. Prado singled, then went to second on a wild pitch, after which Chipper walked. McCann, who had been hit on the hand by a foul tip earlier, and left the game afterwards, bunted — I’m guessing he was trying to get a hit, but it wound up a sacrifice. ACHE, being ACHE, was unable to get the tying run home, but Yunel came through with a two-run single to make it 2-1. The Mets got the tying run on in the bottom of the inning, but Jeffy hit into a double play. Please sign him long-term, Omar.

It stayed 2-1 until the ninth, when the Mets’ closer came on, only to give up a double to Yunel and a single to Adam. Expensive closer, bad team — great investment there… Moylan pitched the eighth, allowing a walk, and Soriano the ninth, and did the same. If anyone cares, it was Soriano’s 25th save, which puts him in a tie for eleventh on the franchise single-season list. It’s a fairly easy list to climb.

40 thoughts on “Atlanta 3, Buffalo 1”

  1. I am glad that we at least got to 81 wins….I hope that the Braves finish well over .500 and that gives Bobby his graceful exit. Unfortunately, I think it will have the opposite effect….

    Going back to last thread–I really hope that Lowe pitches better in 2010 because we are stuck with him….

  2. If you still don’t believe that Jair Jurrjens is an ace, you have been living under a rock. JJ just 23 years of age and pitches like he’s 33.

    As is, this pitching staff is unbelievable and it’s a frigging crime to see it wasted. We are five back in the loss column with eleven to play. The Rockies can only lose the wild card.

    Peter Moylan is about to do something I never thought possible, break or equal Chris Reitsma’s 84 game appearance mark set back in 2004. Moylan has pitched in 82 games and is the only Braves pitcher to top eighty games twice.

    Others are:

    Chris Reitsma, 84 in 2004.

    Ray King, 80 in 2002 and he was a damn fine middle relief pitcher.

    Brad Clontz, 81 in 1996.

  3. As is, this pitching staff is unbelievable and it’s a frigging crime to see it wasted.

    The Giants have a better team ERA and are going nowhere. To use your favorite junk stat, the Cubs have just one fewer quality start and aren’t close. There’s nothing that special about this situation.

    It’s unfortunate it took until mid-season for the front office to address the severe problems in the lineup.

  4. 10, right and I’m supposed to take your word over that of Bill James, Go crawl back into your hole.

    O yea, the average ERA of the quality start from 1984 to 1991 per start was 1.91, take that junk and smoke it.

  5. Coach, can you do me a favour and please stop the latent aggressiveness in your posts? I tried to ignore your posts for some time, but lately there have been too many to just scroll down.

  6. @15
    that last word should say “past”.

    so, should peter moylan be the 2009 closer? he has already stated that he feels like he gets better the more he pitches and doesnt mind pitching in consecutive games. also, he keeps the ball in the park, strikes out a few people, and induces ground balls.

  7. What does FIP say about Jurrjens this year vs last? When you look at his peripherals on b-ref he looks like exactly the same pitcher as last year. Curious to get some impressions on how he is truly progressing- not, by any means, that I am complaining about his performance right now!

  8. Tbh, I think last night had more to do with the Mets than any great pitching.

    David Wright is just mailing it in. His first inning double play grounder looked like he aimed for the fielder.

  9. Coach, if you think everyone on the blog is a moron, which you seem to, why do you bother continuing to post? Is it so offensive to you to have people disagree with you?

  10. @16 Moylan might have to be the closer, at least to start the year. I don’t think the team resigns the two closers we have now. Medlen, Kawakami, O’Flaherty, or someone else could emerge eventually, but I would imagine it’s Moylan’s job to lose.

  11. has anyone noticed that the only player to play more games than Chipper this year is Laroche? Laroche 133 Chipper 132….Id also like Moylan to close. He’s been lights out and has somehow avoided giving up a hr all season.

    edit: Coach gets a little lost, he’s looking for the ajc blog and ends up here somehow

  12. As disappointing as Javy Vazquez has been at times, he has been the best starter on the team by a wide margin – this is no disrespect to Jurrjens or Hanson, it’s just that Vazquez has been a Dan Haren clone this season:
    Javy: 30 GS (204.1 IP), 14 W, 9L, 2.90 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 222K
    Haren: 31 GS (217.1 IP), 14W, 9 L, 2.90 ERA, .96 WHIP, 208K

    As a matter of fact, Javy’s season rates as the 6th best in the MLB this year, behind Greinke, Lincecum, Verlander, Halladay, and Cliff Lee. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2009&month=0

    @17: As great as Jurrjens (and Hanson) have been, the stats say they’ve been lucky with ERA this season. In particular, Jurrjens’ line is nearly identical to last season, when he put up a 3.68 ERA – only difference is his BABIP fell from .311 last year to .279 this year, and he’s stranding 78% of baserunners this season vs. 71% last year. Given that Hanson and Jurrjens are young and still improving, I could see them both take more steps forward next season… but if they pitch next year like they did this year, they’ll probably put up ERA’s around 3.5. Don’t get me wrong, a 3.5 ERA is very good – #1/2 starter material – but we can’t go into next season expecting to have three sub-3 ERA starters. Balancing that out, though, I expect Lowe’s ERA to be in the 3.5 – 4 range next season, too.

    Also, when I suggested that we swap Lowe for Milton Bradley the other day, it was not an endorsement of Bradley per se – I just like the idea of the Braves buying undervalued assets and taking good risks.

    I’ve been a huge Braves fan for two decades now, and I see reasons to get excited for the Braves future that haven’t existed for a long time… that being a critical mass of good, young talent. I like the moves Wren has been making (with a few exceptions) and I hope we continue to stockpile/hold on to prospects (no more Teixeira trades!). That’s what got us this winning season and that is what will create sustainable success in Atlanta again. GO BRAVES!

  13. @22,

    Wait a minute, NickH, don’t you know that Jurrjens is an ace? And you think he has been lucky? I guess you have been living under a rock. (See Coach.) :)

  14. I wouldn’t want Moylan closing. Maybe we could do a little of what we did at the beginning of this year and use him and O’Flaherty depending on the situation. Moylan walks too many lefties to be a full-time closer.

    Rufino, I think that’s a good question. Jurrjens’ peripherals suggest that he is headed for a correction of at least a run next year, but he looks like he can keep it up. I’d like to know what everyone else thinks about Jurrjens going forward. Should we count on him to have an ERA around 3.5 going forward?
    edit: I should refresh before I post. Thanks, NickH.

  15. @22, I would probably put Vazquez at #4. Lincecum has been the best in the NL. Greinke’s on another planet. Verlander has slightly worse numbers (BB rate), but he’s pitching in a league with a DH, so he’s probably been a better pitcher overall this year.

    Halladay doesn’t strike as many guys out. Although that works for him when he’s hit-lucky, striking guys out is preferable. Lee’s been better than Vazquez since he came to Philly, but he wasn’t as good the first part of the year against people who had seen his stuff.

    I would be very comfortable saying Vazquez has been the fourth best in baseball this year, and I would entertain arguments for third. Once you get past Greinke, you get to Lincecum. Once you get past Lincecum, there are a handful of dominant guys who have been at about the same level this year, and Vazquez is near the front of that pack.

    On the other hand, if you look at the Hardball Times, which may be my favorite general-purpose baseball site, Vazquez leads the league in “xFIP,” which is where you adjust home runs to function of a player’s fly ball rate. In fact his xFIP is the same as his actual ERA. If you buy that Grienke and Lincecum and the other top pitchers have been HR-lucky, you could argue that he’s the best.

    I don’t think that. My gut tells me that whatever adjustment they do is too linear. It just feels like they over-adjust the best and the worst at keeping balls in the park.

  16. Doesn’t really matter who is the best or second best. No one thought before the season that we would be talking about Javier Vazquez in the same breath as Tim Lincecum. Whether he can repeat this next season is an open question but he certainly has good enough stuff to do so.

    And, by the way, a number of people were advocating trading for Jermaine Dye earlier. He has hit under .200 since the All-Star break.

  17. @24, you can’t count on pitchers for anything. Before the beginning of last year, could you count on Aaron Harang for an ERA around 3.7? He had done it for three straight years in a hitter’s park. All of his peripherals looked good.

    Pitchers are unpredictable. That’s why I’m glad the team has Hanson AND Jurrjens going forward.

  18. 26—Actually, I predicted before the season that Javy would be starting the All-Star Game for the NL. (With any run support, that prediction might have come true.) A select few of us were not all that surprised by his performance this year.

    Of course, I should not that I was also one of the folks advocating a trade for Dye, lest you be too impressed with my baseball acumen. :)

  19. #22 um when has Vasquez been disappointing? He’s had a few bad games like every pitcher who ever pitched, but over all he’s been fantastic. If you want to talk about disappointing pitchers, reference Derek Lowe instead.

  20. @22-

    Thanks for the response, I appreciate the information. One thing you said piqued my curiosity however- “Given than Hanson and Jurrjens are young and still improving…”

    What’s the precedent for pitchers that were almost exactly the same in their 22/23 yr old seasons going on to improve? I honestly have no clue. If this year was Jurrjens’ first in the majors, then I would expect him to improve, based on my limited understanding of the aging curve for players- but now that he’s posted two almost identical seasons, that would seem to argue that he is what he is- which as you point out is a very good thing.

  21. @24 – I like Moylan, but 1) he doesn’t strike out many people, and it’s hard to be a consistent closer when you are so reliant on defense; 2) he isn’t very effective against left-handed batters (for his career, .256 BAA and 1.59 WHIP vs. .215 BAA and .98 WHIP for righties). Those kind of platoon splits don’t matter as much for starting pitchers, since the lineup they face typically won’t change much day to day – the opposing lineup is what it is. However, when you get to the 9th inning, you’re looking at a lot more matchup-based choices.

    The A’s tried to go with Brad Ziegler, a similar pitcher to Moylan, as a closer. He couldn’t stick as closer, and has been replaced with a traditional K-heavy pitcher (Andrew Bailey). Moylan is a valuable part of the bullpen but I think he’s best used in a setup role.

    @25 – Yeah, I’d say rating Javy #6 is perhaps even conservative. I won’t go so far as to put him in the Greinke/Lincecum category, but he’s in the conversation with Halladay and Verlander (and I’d take him over Lee too).

  22. @30 – There has been a lot of carping on here after games this year where Javy has pitched a great game, only to blow up in the 6th or 7th inning. Basically, he was a let-down because he somehow managed to give up 3 or 4 runs after completely dominating (not because he was objectively bad). And yes, he has a track record of being disappointing in this way in past years (results = good/very good vs. pitching skills = phenomenal).

    @31 – There’s no way to say where Jurrjens will go from here. However, he is very young, and his established level of production the last two years looks like the baseline, going forward, for what you’re going to get (barring injury).

  23. @33- I agree, I guess I was wondering if the fact that he had SUCH an established level at such a young age was rare, and if so, if that offered more predictive power…

  24. 33, it’s gonna difficult to justify trading Vazquez considering the season he is having right now. But, his contract for 2010 will eat up 4.8 million more in salary than that of Kenshin Kawakami. As it is the Braves payroll is gonna be tight unless Liberty Media raises the ceiling on it.

  25. @34 – Looking at Jurrjen’s stats, I noticed that this year and last year are NOT as similar as at first glance… in particular, last year his ground ball / fly ball ratio was 1.94 – and this year, 1.09. His pitch selection hasn’t changed much, except he throws his slider 3% more and his changeup 3% less.

    Fly balls are good because they fall for hits less often than grounders, but on the downside, fly balls turn into extra-base hits a lot more often (obviously). Jurrjen’s lower BA against this year has a lot to do with all the flyballs… and on the plus side, it hasn’t come at the expense of too many HR’s (14 this year vs. 11 last). If he continues to be a flyball pitcher, he’ll be prone to giving up runs in bunches on occasion (see: Vazquez, Javy). The optimal combination is to have a lot of ground balls and strikeouts, like Chris Carpenter (or to a lesser extent, Halladay).

    So, in light of that, I don’t think we can safely say that Jurrjens is a totally known commodity yet. It’ll be very interesting to see where he goes from here.

  26. I guess we will be forced to not keep Hudson because we are stuck with KK and his 8 mil contract .. Id say we try to keep LaRoche and I still think we need a RH ..a poer guy in left field … GAnderson is gone .. we keep Church and Diaz as bench players in OF, Infante as IF depth, KJ is gone, lineup as follows next year:

    McClouth – cf
    Escobar – SS
    C Jones – 3B (his days are over but he wont retire)
    RH hitting LF with Power
    McCann – C
    Laroche – 1B
    Heyward – RF
    Prado – 2B

    Starting Pitching
    Vasquez
    Jurrgins
    Lowe
    Hanson
    KK ( would keep Hudson if we could unload KK but we cant)

    Bullpen

    Moylan
    OFlaherty
    Medlin
    Gonzo
    Acosta
    New Signee
    New Signee

    Subs – Infante
    Church
    Diaz
    KJ or new guy
    Ross

  27. I think the key for Jurrjens going forward is to sort out his walks, because he doesn’t get enough strikeouts to work around them all the time.

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