Braves 4, Nats 0

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – September 13, 2010 – ESPN.

Someone disguised as Derek Lowe just went out and dominated the Nationals, who are not that bad of an offensive ballclub, for eight innings. I’d say he switched places with Tim Hudson, but Hudson wasn’t doing anything like that either. Lowe, if that was him, struck out a career-high twelve men, didn’t walk anyone, and allowed just six hits. Only one Nats batter made it to second base, on a leadoff double in the eighth, and he just stood there as Lowe pitched around it.

The Braves, meanwhile, got all their runs in the second. Brian McCann and Derrek Lee walked to start it off, and the Nats’ pitcher, some guy just off a boat, committed consecutive balks to score Brian and move Lee to third, whence he easily scored on a double by Nate McLouth. (Most of this year, even when McLouth had a hit, it was weak. The hits he’s getting right now are smoked. So are most of the outs.) Matt Diaz, getting a rare start against a righthander, tripled to make it 3-0, then came home on a two-out single by Omar Infante. The Braves didn’t do much the rest of the night, which isn’t good.

Lowe was really good. Seriously. Billy Wagner pitched the ninth, and struck out the side. Easy as pie.

165 thoughts on “Braves 4, Nats 0”

  1. Chipper or McLouth? :)

    I want to say Nate’s swing does look more level since his stint in Gwinnett, but it’s hard to say without looking at a lot of video I guess.

  2. That makes Uggla the first second baseman in MLB history to hit 30 home runs in four seasons, and he’s done it four years in a row. No other 2B has even had three such seasons in a row.

  3. Uggla is a very good hitter. If he were a Met or Yankee, he would be a one of the 10 highest paid players in the league.

  4. uggla wears eyeliner

    Who the fuck was pitching for the Braves tonight? Was that some rookie out of nowhere or what?

    Sweep the leg, Johnny!…uh, I mean sweep the natties, Bravos.

    nathan-san, killin the ball, boyz!

  5. The next time a man hands you a hot dog after making a run to the restroom and the concession stand at an Atlanta Braves baseball game, be careful: there is a good chance he did not wash his hands, according to a report released Monday by a group that sends spies into public restrooms in the name of science.

    Only about two-thirds of the men observed washed their hands after using the restroom at Turner Field — the lowest rate for any of the locations cited in the observational study and survey on the hand-washing habits of Americans. The study, conducted every few years, was released by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute at a microbiology conference in Boston.

  6. @15 The penis is typically one of the cleanest parts of the male body. So long as he doesn’t piss on himself, it’s more significant that people don’t wash their hands after simply touching a door than after going to the rest room.

  7. It’s funny, Huddy and Lowe could never be good at the same time. JJ and Hanson can not be good at the same time. Minor is Minor.

  8. @25 There is without a doubt that Jason is special. The question is only whether he is Andruw-type special or Griffey-type special.

  9. I believe — I haven’t researched it in detail — that Jason is having the best year ever by a 20-year-old Braves hitter. Certainly better than Aaron, probably better than Mathews. He’s created 90 runs, a Braves rookie record, while making a lot fewer outs than the other guys.

  10. @25

    I don’t care how Heyward compares to this “Ted Williams” I just want to know how he compares to Frenchy the Great. And I don’t want to hear about that OPS bull.

  11. 29- Well, at 20 Frenchy did hit .276 with 18 HR, not far from Heyward’s numbers… mind you, he did most of that at Myrtle Beach before playing 18 games in Mississippi. And he did only draw 22 walks (none at Mississippi), but you don’t want to hear about that, I’m sure.

  12. KC, I know what you mean. Since Andruw may have been the greatest defensive center fielder ever, it would be hard for Jason to match Andruw in the field. But at the plate, at least, Andruw has only ever had two seasons with 80 walks.

    Jason is nearly as far ahead Andruw as a hitter as Andruw was ahead of him as a fielder — and purely as a hitter, Andruw had a 115 OPS+ from 1998-2007, one of only 23 players in baseball to post an OPS+ that high over 1300 games, and of course he led all of baseball in games played over that period.

  13. In his half-season of plate appearances this season, by the way, Andruw has been way, way more productive than the full season of crap we’ve rolled out in center field. Just saying.

  14. Francoeur’s 20-year-old season Myrtle Beach numbers are in no way comparable to Heyward’s numbers this year.

  15. 37- Of course not. I was trying to be sarcastic about Frenchy’s “accomplishments,” as I interpreted Lane’s comment as being in that spirit.

  16. I just want to know how he compares to Frenchy the Great.

    First time in the majors:

    Jeff Francoeur (2005): 14 homeruns and .884 OPS in 274 PAs.

    Jason Heyward (2010): 17 homeruns and .880 OPS in 544 PAs.

  17. @33 I am not even thinking too much into details. I am thinking more like: Will Jason be one of the better players in the game like Andruw was or will he be one of the best in this decade?

  18. Pods win, 6-4.

    Thing is, Andruw was one of the best players of the decade. His defense was that good. According to the baseball-reference calculations, for example, he has the 12st-highest WAR since 1993 (the generally acknowledged beginning of the modern offensive era).

  19. And CarGo makes the final out to lose the game for the Rockies. Braves now 1.5 ahead of the Giants and 3.5 ahead of Colorado.

  20. @15 and @19,

    Urine is actually sterile. If 19’s comments about the reproductive organ is actually true, then the most germ-ridden place that the man can touch is the door handle on the way out. I don’t understand why they don’t have hand sanitizer at the concession stands, though. Wiping your hands for three seconds with that stuff would prevent a lot of food-borne diseases. I don’t care whether they wash their hands, as long as they use the sanitizer (which again, I reiterate, takes about three seconds to use), I’m fine.

  21. Sorry if this has been posted recently but I looked this up just now and thought I would share. Since the Gonzo/Escobar trade:

    AAG: .274/.330/.433
    Esc: .289/.346/.399

    AAG: 5 HR’s, 31 RBI, 221 PA
    Esc: 4 HR’s, 13 RBI, 193 PA

  22. Marc,

    And don’t forget, that’s with Esco drinking whatever they’re putting in that water in Canada and AAG (new nickname, please? At least after the walk-off hit) playing at Turner.

  23. It’s weird. I was listening to the Padres/Rockies game & I found myself pulling for San Diego, mainly because I don’t even want to think about Colorado in the post-season. Wouldn’t even want to discuss it.

    So, a good night. We’re still in a playoff spot.

    Attn: YankeeHaters
    The Pinstripers now have lost 7 of 8, are out of 1st place, and experiencing some physical breakdowns. Swisher (knee) & Gardner (wrist) are going for MRIs. Posada’s not completely right after another blow to the head. Plus, there are the lingering health issues with Pettitte and, to a lesser degree, A-Rod.

    Helluva pitching duel tonight, though.

    I’m not really a germphobe, but I try to be careful when traveling.

    Eg.—One of the worst things you can do on an airplane is go into the bathroom & flush the toilet with the lid open. If you do, you’ve basically inserted yourself into an exploding germ closet.

  24. Ububba,

    With you on the traveling thing. I Always carry around those pocket-sized hand sanitizers somewhere in the bag. Also, I’ve never used the restroom on an aircraft.

    I think that the Yankees are going to be fine. They’ve pretty much clinched some sort of playoff spot, and even if they reach the worst-case scenario, they can DL who they want and still activate them for 3-4 games before the playoff series begin in October. They only thing that they should be worried about is the state of their postseason rotation.

    I definitely (DEFINITELY) do not want to be in Colorado come playoff time. Somebody is doing something to that team come September, year in and year out. Also, one of my ex’s is a fairweather fan. I saw her on campus for the first time in 6 or 7 months today. The first thing she said to me was, ‘I can’t wait for us to beat you guys this year’. It was lame.

    Always good to be in a playoff spot, even better when you have the second-best record in the league, and having the best run differential in your league is the cherry on top.

    It’s been said enough times, but there is definitely something special about the team this year. Every team wins a few games that it should lose, and loses a few games that it should win. But the Braves this year have won many a game that they have absolutely no business winning. Outside of that loss in Colorado, I don’t think that we’ve lost any kind of game such as that.

  25. ububba,

    Nope, but I have flown directly from Chicago to New Delhi, India (and back). It maybe a problem, but just never had to go.

  26. AAG: .274/.330/.433
    Esc: .289/.346/.399

    Pretty much what you’d expect in terms of hitting, though I’m happy that AAG has managed to keep his OBP near a league-average level. The Braves have however given back a bit on defense, and all told Escobar has been worth about 1/2 a win more since the trade. Not as awful as I’d feared, but locking us into Gonzalez for next year is what originally upset me so.

  27. As for Andruw–I know he’s not a center fielder, but it’s silly to compare him to Melky. He has been pretty decent in the field when he’s played the corner this year, and still compares favorably with pretty much anyone we’ve thrown out there except for Heyward. Obviously, I’m not complaining that he’s gone–the Braves cut ties when they should have–or even advocating that we bring him back on the cheap. I’m just saying that he’s been decent this year, and not a total debacle like the Melky/McLouth/Ankiel/Diaz quartet.

  28. I didn’t get a chance to come post this last night… but it is fantastic seeing McLouth hitting well, because seeing him on defense is SO much nicer than anything else we’ve trotted out to CF. I’d gotten used to the Melky CF apparently and when McLouth ranged back for that long-run-semi-over-the-shoulder grab (I think in the 5th) that I just KNEW was going to drop because they’ve been dropping every time I see Melky (and I think Ankiel too) in CF… twas a thing of beauty. It almost gave me hope.

    On sanitation: I went to Dragon*Con weekend before last and heeded all the sanitary advice to avoid picking up con-crud… washed hands religiously and used my hand sanitizer every half-hour or so… and of course also kept disease free by not f@#$ing a Pikachu (which was somebody behind me in line on Friday’s stated goal for the weekend).

    Edit: Also, Andruw may not be the defender he once was, but he’s not quite melky size these days:

  29. all told Escobar has been worth about 1/2 a win more since the trade.

    According to BR they’re separated by .1 in WAR and just over a run in batting runs and plus/minus defensive runs saved. Given the precision of these metrics, that’s about as close to equal as you can get.

  30. Is tomorrow Minor’s last start of the year? His next start would be Monday in Philly. We don’t play anymore games this year on Thursday, they could skip his starts from here on out.

  31. Desert,

    You obviously are a lot younger than many of the rest of us.:)I always tried to avoid using the restroom on airplanes but as I get older it’s impossible unless it’s a very short flight.

    It’s always nice when a guy that’s been written off is able to seemingly get his game together. McLouth is hitting some rockets. And the Braves hit some rockets last night that were caught or they would have had more runs. Heyward just scorched two balls that were caught. He did get on base twice so his OBP increased, but they don’t put OBP on the scoreboard, do they?

  32. I’d think Minor has to start one of our remaining games with the Phillies. If they really are shuffling their rotation so we have to face Halladay/Oswalt/Hamels then we shouldn’t cut them any breaks either. Minor isn’t one of our “Big Three”, but the Phillies have had problems vs LHP this year similar to the Braves.

    These games with the Phillies are going to be the most important we play all season. I’m willing to risk sending Minor out one extra time for them.

    Bravesjournal, not Mikeminorjournal imo.

  33. @60

    They would if it were important.

    The less we bash Frenchy, they worse we play. Since he got sent to Texas, we have back off on here quite a bit and thus the Braves play worse.

    It is like Peter Pan, “If you believe Frenchy sucks, post it on the web.”

    Mac, change the tag line.

    Stu, haiku time buddy.

    JC, find us some terrible Frenchy stats.

    Let’s get the bashing back to where it belongs! It can only help the Braves! Do it for Bobby (who kept trotting the goof out there to give us material! let’s use that now!)

  34. If you can read this article about Eric Show on ESPN,you should. It’s a great, albeit long, piece.

    Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt vs. Hudson/Hanson/Jurrjens? I have to say, advantage Phillies, especially with none of the Braves being lefthanded. Doesn’t mean the Braves can’t win, but, if you were betting, the Phillies would be favored in every one of those matchups.

  35. Ya. The Braves advantages over the Phils are in the back of the rotation and bullpen. One of those is crucial come the playoffs, one is irrelevant. If we want to beat the Phillies “big three”, the way to do it is be down by not-many-runs by the 7th, and make the starter work enough to get him out of the game. Their bullpen is crap, and we do our best work against bullpens.

    ALSO. I’m going to the Friday game in Met Town, sitting in the LF bleachers. Any advice on things to do at/around/before/after the game?

  36. I don’t actually hate those match-ups Marc. Halladay is a game we almost certainly lose, but:
    A) we hit Hamels fairly well & Tommy’s pitched the Phils pretty well.
    B) Oswalt is human and doesn’t scare me much… I think any of our guys would match up OK against him (assuming JJ’s last start was an anomaly)
    C) While Halladay is the only one I’d assume we lose against, but he’s given up 3-4 runs in each of his last 4 starts and only gone 7 innings… which gives me hope.

    I’m not saying I’m COMFORTABLE, just that I wouldn’t go into that series assuming the worst.

  37. @67,

    Well, my concern is really what has become the inconsistency in the Braves rotation. Hanson has been pitching well for the most part, but Hudson is struggling some and JJ–who knows what you will get? If all these guys pitch well, the Braves have a chance to get into the Phillies bullpen. Let’s face it, on paper the Phillies are the better team, but games aren’t played on paper and in a short series anything can happen. But if it comes down to the Braves having to win, say, 4 of 6 against the Phils to make the playoffs or win the division, that’s a problem.

  38. In the history of baseball, Jeff Francoeur is one of only 7 players to record four seasons with more than 450 outs and a slugging percentage under .450. He is, of course, the only “slugger” on the list; the other six players are Steve Sax, Jimmy Rollins, Granny Hamner, Warren Cromartie, and Aurelio Rodriguez.

  39. I remember when Chip Carey would wax indignant when people would criticize Francouer during the years he was driving in 100 runs. As if the idea that Francouer wasn’t a great player was imply incomprehensible.

  40. Thanks for sharing that article, Marc. I couldn’t stand him when he was playing, but this makes me feel some compassion for him.

  41. @73,

    Yeah, I didn’t like him (or the other two)either but it sounds like his father did a real number on this guy. (It was sort of odd that none of them really understood the connotations of belonging to the John Birch Society.) I guess it’s sort of ironic that the father ended up oblivious to everything while his son was spiraling down. It’s pretty sad.

    On another subject, we are having a seminar in my office on econometrics, run by a Ph.D economist that works here. He provided as a hand out a copy of an article from today’s Wall Street Journal, summarizing an article in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, which purports to show a causal relationship between the number of people attending a baseball game and the number of runs scored and equating that to wins, ie, the higher the attendence, the more runs scored by the home team and, therefore, the more wins. According to the article, if they had 100% attendance at every home game, the Braves would have had almost three additional wins. (The Padres and Reds would have had even bigger increases.) The Phillies would have 0 additional wins, presumably because they are already selling out every game.

    The economist was using this article to point out the flawwed use of econometrics, ie, that a statistical relationship between two variables is not the same thing as a causal relationship. He thinks there is no causal relationship here. But I’m not sure I agree; a bigger crowd might pump up the home team and make them play better, although I’m not sure how greater enthusiasm would make batters hit better, unless it somehow affected the opposing pitcher.

  42. Am I allowed to quote JFK to agree with c. shorter?

    “A rising tide raises all boats.”

    Which is related to my pet peeve when announcers (Skip was notorious for this) point out that “had x not happened, Heyward’s double would have plated a run.”

    Well, no.

    Everything would have been different. Pitch selection, location, windup or stretch – all the variables would have been at least slightly different.

    Which goes to c. shorter’s point that it is the sum of the parts of success or failure that creates the critical mass that causes (or at least strongly influences) said success or failure.

    As the great philosopher Jerry Reid once said “When ya hot ya hot. When ya not ya not.” As such, doing whatever you can as a manager or player to extend positive momentum or break negative momentum leads to more runs leads to more wins causes more butts in seats.


  43. Alex, I remember getting Granny Hamner way back in ’60 Topps. My eight-year-old thoughts at the time, “What is this guy, 90 years old?”

  44. From Twitter:

    JHickey3 A source says Fredi Gonzalez turned down interview with Cubs for MGR job. Braves apparently are his preferred destination when Cox leaves.

  45. I’m really not sure he’s as bad as many people here think (not that I’ve followed him that closely). Honestly, if we’re not going outside the box from one of the usual suspects that have been mentioned, I think I prefer Fredi.

  46. I think we could do worse than Freddi. Sure, Venters will have to have Tj surgery, but he was going to have to have it anyways.

  47. @75, 76,

    The author used a regression model and supposedly controlled for things like team ability, stadium size, and weather. She is arguing that, in effect, attendence is an independent variable that causes the home team to score more runs. I’m not saying the author is correct or not–this is way beyond my competence–but that’s what the article says. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first example of BS in an academic publication.

  48. I agree that, given a choice between Cox disciples, I would prefer Fredi Gonzalez by quite a wide margin over any of the rest. Not sure if Ozzie Guillen is considered a Cox disciple, but if he isn’t, I think I’d actually rather have Fredi than him, too, although I admittedly probably hold too low of an opinion on Ozzie Guillen.

    Fredi’s not the best manager in baseball or anything, but he did have the Marlins, who don’t spend any money whatsoever, competitive and was fired for pretty much no reason at all. In fact, I think it’s probably to his credit that he basically got fired for telling Hanley Ramirez to pull his head out of his ass, rather than a detriment. I think he’s at least an above average manager.

  49. Make a list of the worst bullpen managers today and Cox, Fredi, and Torre would all be in the top 6.53 imo. So I guess Fredi would just be more of the same in that regards.

    I just don’t really want another “Golly, gee whiz” apologist manager, which is what I’m afraid Fredi will be. Maybe not though.

  50. Could that perception that Fredi is a bad bullpen manager be a function of managing a cheap team that doesn’t spend on the bullpen. I mean you throw 7-8 average-below average guys out there, it’s going to be hard to develop a rep for being a good bullpen manager.

    Out of curiosity, who do you consider a good bullpen manager?

  51. Of all the things a manager has to do, I think in-game management and tactics are among the least important. Far more important are setting the tone in the clubhouse, making sure to implement the team’s priorities in terms of offensive and defensive approach, and integrating young talent into a veteran lineup. Bunting, double switching, and reliever usage are a lot less important, and can mostly be delegated to a Don Zimmer/Pat Corrales type, anyway. A good leader has to have the respect of his subordinates.

    Bobby’s brilliance is that his players have almost universally loved and admired him, and many of them have played better for him than for anyone else. (This is much more true for pitchers than for hitters, according to Chris Jaffe’s research, which is unsurprising.)

    Fredi seems to be a pretty good leader, and I liked the way he handled the Hanley situation. I wouldn’t have a problem with Eddie Perez or Terry Pendleton, either.

  52. AAR,

    I agree on Eddie Perez, but have just never gotten that feeling from TP. Maybe it’s just the way he is with the media, or his inability to help AJ or Frenchy, I don’t know, I just don’t see him as a good leader.

  53. No, no. I don’t wanna hear anything about Bayes on baseball blog. Horrid memories from probability theory.

  54. Reggie Bush gives up Heisman!

    Wow! Thank god! Now, worth-while recepients like O.J. Simpson won’t have to be linked to a cheater like Bush.

  55. Since Mac asked. :-)

    I do have an opinion on the article; in fact, I’m quite familiar with it. It’s bad, though not necessarily for the reasons listed here. Here is a link to the paper. Notice anything odd? I need to refrain from commenting further until I talk to a few people.

  56. Just reading the abstract…

    My first thought would be –

    Did they score more runs because they sold more tickets or (more likely) did they sell more tickets because they scored more runs?

  57. @102
    are they talking about SR or JR? if it’s sr, then that’s awesome!

    1. Infante 2B, 2. Heyward RF, 3. Prado 3B, 4. McCann C, 5. Lee 1B, 6. McLouth CF, 7. Gonzalez SS, 8. Diaz LF, 9. Jurrjens P

    looks like bobby has learned how to fill out a lineup without melky in it. HOORAY!

  58. That’s like saying nine years as a nurse is as good as four years in medical school. (I’m not denigrating nurses, they’re God’s own angels.) It’s just a different job and requires its own training.

  59. It would be like letting old football coaches be AD’s. At one time it was a good thing. Now it is a bad thing.

    (Are you reading this Phil Fulmer?)

  60. (SSS caveats apply)

    Wait, Diaz is playing against a righty? With his 595 OPS? Awesome. That seems much higher than Ankiel’s 805 OPS.

    It probably doesn’t matter that much, but it sure would be nice if we didn’t make things harder than they need to be.

  61. Speed’s not any better than his last start (averaging 90-91), and command is marginally better if that. When the pitcher nearly takes you deep, you’ve got no business on the mound.

  62. I’m not saying the author is correct or not–this is way beyond my competence–but that’s what the article says. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first example of BS in an academic publication.

    An interesting read but I don’t think you can take the conclusion seriously. The biggest problem obviously being that the attendance figures published by MLB teams many times are no where close to the number of people actually in the stadium.

    The most interesting thing to me in reading the study was:

    Including adverse weather
    produced results that implied a significant, positive effect of attendance on performance, similar in
    magnitude to that found in our final specification….We therefore dropped our adverse weather

    In between were some unsupported assertions of how umpires act in favor of the home team during rainy games. Not cool.

  63. You know what playoff teams don’t do? Get their asses handed to them by Livan Hernandez and that Nats.

  64. Pull JJ and give him the KK treatment, Bobby; he’s not being honest with you, and he’s hurting the team.

  65. I am constantly amazed by the flat out stupidity of baseball players. You’re hurt, you are hurting the team, and the injury isn’t going to go away. What do you do? Hide it until you’ve wasted a month of everyone’s time. Another example is Lowe sucking against the Nats for two years and NOW he finally gets some help and hey, it works! Stupid.

  66. Livan is Jamie Moyer from the right side. I saw Moyer pitch earlier this year in Philly and he never threw anything over 82mph!

  67. AAG just struck out on a 63 mph curveball, according to GameDay. Little Leaguers throw harder than that.

  68. Yea Jurrjens has sucked, but let’s face it. the inability of this offense to get any runs is atrocious. There in a pennant race in September, they have to hit better.

  69. Well, livian is a pretty good pitcher. Everyone wants to complain about not crushing him but he knows how to pitch. It’s not fair to just say he sucks.

  70. Well Melky sucks that’s for sure. But, personally I can stand him more than D. Lee and Farnsworthless. Please, please, Frank Wren, get rid of these guys!
    And yeah, Melky, too!

  71. Well, this is serious now. I didn’t expect a sweep but if they lose tomorrow before going on the road, uh oh. It may be slipping away.

  72. This offense bites. Not that this is anything we didn’t already know, but if they don’t get a power bat for left field next year I don’t see how anybody can expect anything different.

    And Livan is not good. The Mets(!) beat him last time out. The Pirates tagged him for 8 earned runs the start before that. He’s not even left handed!

  73. Honestly, if the Braves didn’t want to go to the playoffs this year, they should’ve said so. Stringing us along like this is just a horrible thing to do.

  74. The Phillies have apparently won 14 of their last 18. Hard to gain ground on a team playing like that. Go Fish?

  75. You do have to congratulate Heyward for his professionalism, getting on base even though he knows no one can drive him in.

  76. The similarity between Proctor and proctology is not a coincidence, as watching him pitch is as comfortable as having random objects jammed up your rectum.

  77. And the Braves finish losing a shutout to the NL’s third worst team and a fifty-year-old Cuban. Honestly.

  78. As bad as the hitting has been, the real difference recently has been the pitching. Jj has been awful and Hudson is struggling now. Before they were in every game; now they are getting blown out early.

  79. The truly excellent Hendrix analogy reminds me:

    Isn’t it obvious that the death of rock ‘n roll is nigh when some band does a serious metal cover of “Careless Whisper” and doesn’t crack a smile?

    What did Eliot say? “Not with a bang, but with a whimper.” Sigh. Fun while it lasted.

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