Braves 2, Brewers 1

Atlanta Braves vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Box Score – April 04, 2011 – ESPN.

Example 34,631 on the problems with the “win” stat: Brandon Beachy was pretty clearly the person most responsible for the Braves getting the win today, going six innings and striking out seven, against four hits and a walk. He was never in danger of getting a win. He got a no-decision, and was in line for a loss when he left the game, having allowed the Brewers’ lone run on a third-inning solo homer by Rickie Weeks. Nonetheless, he was brilliant.

The Braves couldn’t get a hit with a runner on base; against a wild lefthander whose name I won’t bother looking up, they drew three walks and had three singles. But in the eighth, they got to old teammate Takashi Saito. Martin Prado hit a homer to tie it leading off, then Dan Uggla gave them the lead with a solo homer of his own with two out.

Pretty good relief work. Peter Moylan relieved George Sherrill with one on and one out in the seventh, getting the win for an inning’s worth of work. Jonny Venters got a DP on his second pitch, erasing a Moylan runner, and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side (actually he struck out the middle batter twice when the umpire screwed up on a foul-tip call) in the ninth for the save.

99 thoughts on “Braves 2, Brewers 1”

  1. This team’s continued, complete inability to hit left-handed starters concerns me, no question. I’m pretty thrilled with the win, though.

  2. There’s a lot of talk about how Beachy is only a 4th or 5th starter at best, but he looks like he has all the tools to be really good. Fastball that gets up to 95 if he needs to, plus breaking pitches, as well as very good command.

    His poise looks really good in an almost Tom Glavine sort of way (small sample size I know) in that he doesn’t seem to implode if a few runners get on base. I’d like to see more of that poise out of Hanson sometimes when things aren’t going his way.

  3. Nice surprise to the end of the game. I usually end up regretting it if I turn of the game early.

  4. Also, if Kimbrel really has improved his control then the rest of the league better watch out.

  5. I’m thinking of carrying out an experiment. I’m going to bet the under in every game the Braves are scheduled to face a lefty.

  6. Nice to get home and seeing a win in the books. Would have loved to see Beachy pitch though.

    Betting the under against lefties is probably good, though just make sure it’s someone that throws soft or just general slob pitches, that is what seems to be the problem usually – for whatever reason.

  7. Double posting, but looking at box scores I just noticed that Fredi actually pinch hit with McCann. This is definitely a new era.

  8. @dschoenfield: I think Craig Kimbrel has the closer job locked down in Atlanta: 68 career MLB outs, 45 by strikeout.

    That’s inhuman!

  9. Bobby pinch-hit with McCann all the time; he has 58 career pinch-hit appearances. I’ve remarked any number of times on how Brian’s days off tend to turn into catching the last two or three innings.

  10. Last year, our M.O. on offense was to wear down the starter — didn’t matter whether it was Moyer or Strasburg — and then pounce on their bullpen.

    If we can get the same results as last year and stay healthy, the occasional frustrating day is certainly fine with me.

  11. @5 Reputation for wildness makes it harder for batters. As long as there are no walks.

  12. Was it Ross that never got used as a pinch hitter? Or is it just some misconception lodged in my broken brain about always leaving a catcher on the bench.

    Probably the latter.

  13. It was Ross, all the more problem considering the Braves’ lack of righty power. He pinch-hit only four times last year, and just three in 2009. (He did pinch-run for McCann once last year, and twice in 2009.) And remember, he usually starts the game on the bench, unlike McCann, who seemingly winds up playing in half the games he doesn’t start and is available.

  14. Gotcha, just remembering somewhere in the back of my mind yelling for Bobby to use the catcher on the bench for pinch hitting.

    Now that I think about it I do seem to recall McCann getting into at least a couple games that went deep into extra innings and him almost ending up playing a full game on his off day.

  15. McCann has pinch hit 38 times from 2008-2010 and subsequently entered the game to catch in 16 of them.

  16. Good win. It reminds me of a lot of games in the 1991-2004 timeframe, but our SP ended up on the more deserving side of the “win” stat more often than not back then. I’m with the folks earlier starting the man crush on Beachy. I might also be starting a fling with Fredi.

  17. Definitely should use Ross more as a PH.

    Uh, who’s our 3rd catcher this year? Prado?

    Just saw Hudson’s head-first slide. Is he out of his mind?

  18. I’m with the folks earlier starting the man crush on Beachy.

    Uh, I said nothing about a man-crush.

  19. I think the correct answer to that scenario is, “someone will get back there.”

    Fredi probably doesn’t even know. Who plans for that kind of stuff?

  20. I’d guess that the fourth catcher would be Matt Young or Brandon Hicks. More likely Young, as journeymen players such as Young and Conrad usually “pick up” the emergency catcher “skill” as a nice-to-have consideration if they’re ever on the cusp between 25th and 26th man.

    With that said, the practical sequence of events that would have to occur to have the emergency fourth guy be needed are so catastrophic you’d probably be just as well to say “we forfeit this one, we’ll call you when J. C. Boscan gets in for tomorrow’s game.”

  21. I just cracked up at Sansho’s comment. Funny.

    I like Saito, but I like a Braves win much more. Glad to see it.

  22. I’ll be the first to admit that I underrated Beachy when I thought of him as a guy who would be at best a number 5, who didn’t deserve to push Minor out of the rotation. I don’t know quite how he does it, without a single overpowering pitch, but today convinced me. Those strikeouts speak louder than words. The kid is a legit major leaguer, and I’m just thrilled that we picked him up for nothing.

    Stu, can I join you on the bandwagon?

  23. And to think I rushed from the airport to watch that second half. Hideous. And for the record, that was the 9th place team from the Big East that just won the national championship.

    Caught the Kimbrel highlights. Nasty.

  24. @25 The chop broke out at the game on Sunday, which prompted the Nats fans to boo in return. Definitely strong Braves showing in DC

  25. I was sitting in a section with a fair number of Braves fans who were chopping at one point. It was an embarrassingly sparsely attended game, though. Nice weather, Sunday afternoon, opening weekend, divisional rival in town, and they were selling discounted tickets through The box score says the attendance was 22,210, but I’d swear on a stack of Bibles that there couldn’t have been 20,000 actually sitting down.

  26. Nice feature on Beachy from Baseball Tonight, tonight. They even referenced Fangraphs to describe his pitch selection. Apparently Bobby Valentine threw out a WAR reference in the Dodgers/Giants game last night as well. The lion sleeps with the lamb; Chip uses an appropriate tone of voice to accurately describe a play.

  27. Also, Kimbrel has surpassed Heyward as the Brave I most enjoy watching. He could put up 20 K/9 this year. He has unprecedented stuff.

  28. By the way, Charlie Morton pitched a really nice game for the Pirates today, beating the Cardinals, which I always appreciate. He had one of the worst seasons of any starting pitcher in recent memory last year, but he still has some killer stuff. I’m hoping that he may still be able to have a productive major league career. He certainly landed on a team that has no problem with giving him extra chances.

  29. @49,

    I hope so, but I just got tickes to Sunday’s game and I pretty much had my pick of seats

  30. Does anyone else think that attendance is going to do well at the Ted this year?

    The Braves have drawn over 2.5 million fans for 20 years running. Even when they lost 90 games. But to your point, yes, their seems to be a little of the old swagger back, and that seems to be rubbing off onto the less devoted of the fan base this year. It’s amazing what a return trip to the playoffs can do for your marketing department.

  31. Regarding attendance – Braves averaged about 40K fans per game between ’92 and ’00; obviously that was during the peak of the Braves’ success and also captures the ‘new park’ attendance bump for Turner Field. By contrast, last year was around 31K.

    To my mind, there’s no reason why the Braves can’t get back to the ~40K/game attendance level if they keep building on their current success. As someone who goes to 10+ games a year, I would happily give up the ability to walk up and buy a half-price ticket from a scalper just before opening pitch, in exchange for a packed stadium full of excited Braves fans.

  32. I mentioned it during the game thread, but sansho1 (and Bethany), I too received my scorebook yesterday and was/am quite pleased. Nice stuff.

  33. To my mind, there’s no reason why the Braves can’t get back to the ~40K/game attendance level.

    Three words: Traffic, traffic, traffic. Transportation to and from the Ted is just pathetic. I always used the Braves shuttle, which – hurray! – is still there but with older and fewer buses and only for – quote – “another year or two”. Once that’s gone, one has to use a car (which I don’t have in the US), pay a million for parking and stand in traffic for hours (unless you arrive late and leave early). No, thank you.

  34. It looks like the weather for the Braves’ first homestand is going to be downright perfect. I’m jealous of all who get to attend.

    So, for the pitching gurus out there, what’s stopping Beachy from being an elite pitcher in the NL? He sure looked elite yesterday.

  35. @57, nothing is stopping him. If he can repeat that kind of performance for even a third of his starts he’s a very valuable commodity. There’s just that part about actually doing it. I like him as well as anybody else we’ve got, especially for the price, but lets see how he does over the course of a couple months. He didn’t even become a full-time starter until last year, and even then only started 13 games. Let’s hope he can get through 20+ at this level with some kind of success.

  36. @57, consistency…

    Elite pitchers are the ones who have games like that all the time. Beachy obviously had a great game, but it’s only one in a row, and the Brewers are hitting pretty badly to start the year.

    I’m interested to see how Beachy does against the Phillies. I hope it’s more of the same.

  37. 62 – Yes. If we just go on yesterday, Narveson is also elite.

    I did not see the whole game, “watching” on the internet after the third inning. From what I saw, Beachy did a good job, generally getting ahead of hitters on his fastball. But then, he would try to pitch around them and could not get them to chase. I feel like his line was better than he looked.

    For those that saw the whole game, did he get a lot better?

    No knock against him really. I am happy to have him in the back of our rotation. I just think we are a ways away from discussing elite pitcher status.

  38. Would love to take 2 of the next 3 in Milwaukee.

    Looking ahead, we’ll miss Halladay this weekend. Matchups appear to be Hudson/Lee, Beachy/Oswalt & Lowe/Hamels.

    BTW, I’m a big Mets fan this week.

  39. 64, he got better with his breaking stuff. Missed the zone early, but threw it for strikes later.

  40. Just because we haven’t had a thinly sourced conspiracy discussion in at least a week…

  41. It’s clear to me that people who complain about driving to the stadium just assume it will be a big godawful nightmare and thus have never actually tried it.

    Traffic in Atlanta is bad, but it seems like it’s actually gotten to the point where it’s a little overblown. Rare is the instance where you’re just screwed and you sit there for two hours. Parking was $12 last year, which is hardly what I’d call “millions.” And even if the shuttle does go offline, the stadium is still within walking distance of three MARTA stations. I actually find parking more convenient than MARTA most of the time, though.

    But alas, if people actually tried it once, they’d lose the excuse. And they could never let that happen.

  42. Thank goodness college basketball has a tournament, so we can identify the two best teams.

  43. I hope so, but I just got tickes to Sunday’s game and I pretty much had my pick of seats

    And that’s with a pretty sweet concert following the game.

  44. The Braves have had a lot of young pitchers come up with pretty good stuff and an inability or unwillingness to throw it in the strike zone — Horacio Ramirez, Odalis Perez, Bruce Chen, Chuck James, and Kyle Davies come to mind. Part of this may have been the Leo Mazzone philosophy, which prioritized pitching to the outside corner regardless of whether you got the call.

    But Beachy is a strike thrower, and moreover he seems to be able to command his pitches within the strike zone, which is something none of the above pitchers could do. If he can continue to throw all of his pitches for strikes at the major league level, that separates him from virtually every recent Braves starting pitching prospect other than Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen.

  45. The Atlanta traffic is the argument coming from those who live outside the city. I used to live in midtown and am now in Decatur, making the trek much more manageable. I leave at 6:30 for a 7:05 game and, 90% of the time, make first pitch. I recommend exiting off I85 earlier and driving through town (Inman Park, Cabbagetown, Grant Park neighborhoods). You’ll be amazed at just how quickly you get to the park. Plus, if there’s a rain delay, you can always find a good crowd at Six Feet Under on Memorial.

  46. #74 – agree. I dont know how some people rate his stuff as pedestrian either. He doesnt have an overpowering arm, but he gets plenty of movement and misses a lot of bats. Plus, he’s got 4 pitches that he can throw for strikes.

    I wonder if the Braves revisited the trade that never worked, Beachy for Cain, who would think they have the better side now.

  47. 76—Well, Cain’s now in KC, and you know Dayton would jump at the chance to acquire a Braves player. We could probably get Cain for Proctor.

  48. @74,

    I don’t think McDowell gets enough credit. He really has done a good job here, with a lot less talent.

    Could it be possible that we upgrade when we hired him?

  49. Leo’s style didn’t work for everyone, but it worked a hell of a lot of the time. We led the majors in ERA for a decade, and that wasn’t only because we had three Hall of Famers in the rotation.

    But the Second Spitter has been fantastic for the post-Leo era. He might very well be a better fit for this particular crop of pitchers.

  50. Hudson pitches like a one, Lowe pitches 5+ innings like a one and seems to run out of steam at 100 pitches, Hanson ????, Beachy and Minor better than 4s? JJ and Medlen 3s hopefully. With more depth with RPs, going 5 or 6 is not that bad unless Braves go on long winning streak.

  51. So the Braves, if they wanted to, could develop a pattern to keep serious arms in stock over the course of the next decade by trading 2nd/3rd year arb-eligible guys, or expensive veterans, for top-tier pitching prospects and just continue the cycle of young, dominant starting pitching.

  52. I think the better Beachy does, the more likely the Braves will be to trade Jurrjens (Jurrjens has to actually pitch and pitch well also). I just don’t see us keeping Jurrjens long-term with Medlin coming later in the year and Teheran hopefully ready soon – at least by the start of next year.

  53. I’m not going to sit here and claim that getting to Turner Field is a breeze – but seriously, it’s not any harder to get to the games now than it was when the Braves drew nearly 3.5M fans in the 1997 season. If the Braves get popular again, people will come to the games, simple as that.

  54. Don’t forget TINSTAAPP, Ryan — There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. Pitching prospect attrition is simply massive, and there are no sure things. And you can’t hedge quantity for quality too much, because then you wind up like the Pirates, who traded all their good players and essentially received a farm system full of organizational players in return, with best-case returns like Ross Ohlendorf and Jeff Karstens who are never going to be able to do much damage at the big-league level.

    It’s really, really hard to get a number one, and it’s really hard to imagine that the next time around we’ll be able to acquire a guy from outside like Tim Hudson and extend him at a rate as below-market as Hudson received. You can’t permanently extend pitching dominance by prospects alone — the A’s have tried that, and done about as well as anyone can do, but the proof of the danger is in the injury-attrition that they’ve suffered.

  55. td,

    I think you are right. JJ will turn into next year’s CF.

    Im going with some friends who have a 8 year old. He will get to run the bases too.
    Plus, it is going to be 80 degrees all day.

  56. I was impressed at Beachy’s willingness, and success, to pitch inside to the Brewers. He even went at Weeks with inside fastballs.

    One gripe. Fielder hangs over the plate and leans into pitches to get HBP. At some point he’ll be hit by a strike. Isn’t there a rule to prevent this?

  57. @88,

    Yes, but it is enforced like spitting on sidewalk laws.

    The only time I ever saw an umpire call it was when I got hit with a pitch in little league. This umpire called it a strike becasue I didn’t get out of the way fast enough. I was like 11, it’s not that I wanted to get hit.

  58. When baseball started allowing players to wear suits of armor to the plate, they have up any hope of enforcing that rule.

  59. Atlanta traffic gets blown completely out of proportion. Yes, it’s bad on a daily basis – I even turned down an internship in Alpharetta because I couldn’t bear the thought of a daily hour-both-ways commute in my un-air-conditioned car from June through August.

    But it strikes a nerve of mine to hear it used as reasoning against occasional visits, like when my parents can’t drive from from the northeast side of the state to visit me out west on I20 because they’d have to drive through that awful Atlanta traffic. At some point, it’s just a flimsy crutch of an argument to hide one’s true priorities.

    /bitter screed, mostly aimed at my parents

  60. @93

    Amen. Plus, on days when it is bad, you can generally find ways to get around it if you have any sort of sense of direction/map skills/a GPS. I’m sick of hearing it as an excuse, as well. Fun fact: People who live in town come up with the same lame excuses for not wanting to drive to the suburbs for something, as well.

  61. PeteOrr,

    Have a grandchild, if that won’t get them out to you then nothing will.

  62. This was in college, so I couldn’t afford any better, plus dad instilled an appreciation for barely functional cars in me from an early age. I bought my first AC-ed car two weeks ago, in fact – oh glorious revelation. I drove it to Orlando for the last game of spring training against the Phillies, and I got to sit in cool comfort for 30 minutes while obnoxious Pennsylvanians converged on the one exit from the parking lot. Now Orlando has some seriously bad traffic. I would not support an MLB team there with my regular attendance.

  63. @96
    Good point. They’ve been to the Canadian border with North Dakota to visit my sister and her two kids exactly 8x more than they’ve made it to the Alabama border to visit me. That involved driving through Atlanta, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Chicago. Traffic in Fargo was unsurprisingly not bad at all.

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