Braves 5, Marlins 0

Florida Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 12, 2011 – ESPN.

The imposter who had replaced Tommy Hanson — you know, the one who was throwing 90 MPH fastballs with no control — was replaced by the real one tonight. Hanson went seven innings and allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out five, and his velocity was back in its accustomed 94 MPH range. His control did slip a little later in the game. He was getting a fairly generous strike zone, and that helped — especially since he was getting calls low, which encouraged him to get the ball down. The Braves turned two double plays for him and he got a lot of ground balls. Also, the Braves played sensational infield defense the entire night and kept some of those grounders from sneaking through.

Offensively, everyone but Hanson had a hit, though Prado was the only one with two. In the third, McLouth (!) was in the center of the action, doubling home Prado with two out then coming home on a single by Chipper. In the fourth, Heyward hit a long homer to straightaway center to make it 3-0. Prado doubled leading off the fifth, McLouth bunted him over (sigh) and Chipper hit a sac fly to score him. McCann followed with his first homer of the year to reach the final score.

O’Flaherty and Moylan pitched the eighth, because Bobby would have wanted it that way. However, Linebrink (!) pitched the ninth, allowing a walk but striking out two and almost looking like a major league pitcher or something.

67 thoughts on “Braves 5, Marlins 0”

  1. Bethany, about your awesome scorebook. Is there a design reason you have the score pages for a game such that when scoring one team, the other team is upside down? It might be way easier if one of the sheets was flipped. That way you could have a top and bottom of the inning thing going and not have to flip your book to look at something that happened last half inning.

    Just a suggestion. Still love the book.

  2. Linebrink looked pretty good tonight. And the middle infield played a hell of a game. If only they could all be this way…

  3. Joey, I’ve had a lot of people mention that, and I’m sorry for the oversight. I had the comps that way online for weeks before they went to press, and no one mentioned it, so I didn’t think it was a problem. If I sell out of this set, the next will be flipped the correct way!

  4. @6, Color me impressed by his defense. He’s had a few really good at-bats this year too. I’m not ready to say he’s better than Escobar–who’s off to a hot start this year–but I like him thus far.

  5. It was good to see the Two Whipping Boys A-Gon and McLouth turn in a nice game. I only caught the last few innings, but they both made very nice plays that kept the game in check, and they also had nice days at the plate.

    There have been Braves players that I’ve obviously wanted to be successful because they were on our team, but I didn’t particularly care if they had personal success for themselves. I really like these two guys and want them to be successful. At the Jays/Braves Spring Training game I went to (the infamous Jurrjens injury game), you could see how well-liked Gonzalez is with this team. He did a pretty sweet handshake/squat/jump/high-five thing with Hinske that was entertaining, and ran over to the bullpen to high-five every guy before the game started. That’s the reason why I think the guy will always have a job, and you can’t discount the impact that good guys have on the team.

    Same thing with McLouth. You can see the intensity and emotion on his face, and the players clearly respond to it. He’s spoken of very positively by the members of the organization, and guys clearly root for him. I still remember all the guys leaving the dugout when he hit that walk-off home run last year. That’s the “team chemistry” that we all hope the organizations and teams that we’re a part of our in our every day lives have.

    There’s a subjective side to baseball that sometimes is easy to miss, but these two guys remind you that it does indeed exist.

  6. Wow, less than 14,000 at the game. It will get better when school is out, but that sucks.

  7. Gwinnett game notes

    Minor 6IP 6H 2ER 1BB 9K
    Proctor 2IP 1H 0BB 4K (oh no)
    Schafer 2 for 5, now .333
    Mauro Gomez 1 for 4, 4th 2B already

  8. Good to see Minor regain his control while racking up the strikeouts. Also good to see Schafer off to a decent start, at least in terms of his batting average, which, as we know, was absolutely wretched last year.

  9. Yup, best all-around game this season. If we can get more contributions like that from McLouth & Gonzalez, we should be alright.

    Good mound match-up tomorrow: Hudson/Johnson.

    And how ’bout them BoSawx?

  10. I hate the bunt the guy over when you got a guy on second and nobody out. Especially with a left handed pull hitter like McLouth. The odds of him successfully hitting a ground ball to the right side or a deep fly ball are about as good as getting a bunt down and the reward can be far greater(i.e. he gets a base hit).

    Random side note after a great 5-0 win but it’s always bothered me when managers do that. It’s bad baseball.

  11. Prado doubled leading off the fifth, McLouth bunted him over (sigh) and Chipper hit a sac fly to score him.

    Didn’t see the game. But can hear the predictable commentary from Joe Simpson and Chip Caray in my head when this happened.

  12. Good game by AAG, but love me some FF at 1B too. Haven’t had that for a long time, and if I can trust my eyes, a good first baseman DOES make a difference.

  13. There are enough times throughout the year where bunting in that situation fails miserably that jumping all over it when it works perfectly seems kind of silly.

    Also, I love how people complain when players they think never do anything right actually make productive outs with sacrifice bunts. If all you’re gonna do is complain about the Melky Cabreras, Nate McLouths and Alex Gonzalezes of the world, being all up in arms when they’re made useful in some way seems equally silly. I remember a game last year where it was either the bottom of the eighth or ninth and Melky was up with runners at first and second and nobody out. He bunted the runners into scoring position with one out and the next batter won the game, but everyone immediately decried the bunt as if not letting Melky ground into the inning-killing double play everyone would’ve been expecting was unthinkable.

  14. 21 –

    Leaving aside the fact that that Nate McLouth was probably not going to hit into a double play–considering the runner was on second–you should not have a hitter up whose most likely outcome is to hit into the worst possible scenario. He shouldn’t be on the roster, let alone standing at the plate at a critical moment or hitting in the 2-hole.

    As it happened, Nate may well be swinging the bat well right now. I’d like to see him swing it more with a runner in scoring position, especially with a 3-run lead.

  15. You changed the situation. In that case the bunt is a good play, because then you have two runners in scoring position and get out of the double play scenario. However, when there is a runner on second nobody out, you’re taught in C-league coach pitch that the goal is to hit the ball to the right side.

  16. @17
    Since he retired, wouldn’t he have to re-sign with another team, then serve his 100-game suspension?

  17. No one’s arguing about it getting the guy over to third. I’m just saying it’s not a good baseball play. It’s one thing if you’re a pitcher, but if you’re the 2 hitter getting paid $8 million a year, you should be able to pull the ball to the right side.

    With the bunt you’re reducing the chance of a big inning.

    But I digress. Good win last night. Should be a good one tonight with Huddy vs Johnson. Hopefully more than 13,000 will go see it.

  18. So, Heyward’s sitting on a 1.065 OPS at the moment, with a 21%(!) walk rate and a .364(!!) ISO. In the offseason, there was a fair amount of speculation about whether his power would take just an incremental step forward this year or make a big jump. His first 42 plate appearances this year point to a BIG jump.

    Over/under .551 for Heyward’s SLG% (or capitulating to statistical pedants, his SLG average) this season?

  19. Even if he didn’t have the suspension hanging over his head, I wouldn’t want him. Even if he has something left in the tank, Prado is a much better ballplayer at this point. And nobody wants Manny sitting on their bench, I’m fairly certain.

  20. Nice comfortable win there. Not mentioned, but the ‘sac fly’ by chipper looked more like a sac laser that was close to being a gapper. This is more like what we expected.

    On a side note, does anybody here know anything about the thrashers situation? Hockey is pretty big where I am and there are plenty of rumors around town that the thrashers are moving. Any truth in there?

  21. If the bunt is a bad play, it’s a bad play even when it works out. And complaining about it when it works out is actually better than complaining about it when it doesn’t, because people might actually pay attention to the fact that your argument is about process, not results.

  22. jason already has 9 walks. that’s tied for 5th in the majors. dude isn’t getting anything to hit. gotta put him higher in the lineup.

  23. Fun with small sample size BABIP: if Heyward had Joey Votto’s current .417 BABIP (Heyward’s is an unreasonably low .250), all things remaining equal, he’d be OPSing 1.400 with a .600 OBP and a .800 SLG. Not sure how many WAR that would equate to over a full season – that was basically Barry Bonds’ line in 2002, and he racked up 13 WAR (his fielding numbers were average that year). The scoring environment in 2002 was really high though, so I’m guessing that same numerical performance in the context of, say, 2010 would have rivaled Babe Ruth’s record-setting 15+ WAR season. So, if Heyward can go from being fairly unlucky on balls in play to extremely, historically lucky, he’s got a chance to have the greatest season in history. I’m not counting on that, obviously, but if he keeps up his current rates and his BABIP bounces back to even .300, he’d be OPSing in the 1.100s. That would do.

  24. Signing Manny is a joke. A mistake we avoided. But no one is worried that Freddie may over use Linebrink?
    Last year Cox would have used closer for a Braces save. J/K

  25. @31 – He can’t avoid the suspension absent a successful appeal, which is unlikely. But someone could sign him at an even greater discount now, let him sit out the next 100 games, and have him back by the end of the season. Not that I think that’s a good idea for the Braves, since it isn’t.

    Actually, if he came out of retirement the Rays may still have his rights absent a deal with the union. Not sure about that. Might be trade situation instead of resigning, which would make absolutely no sense at all given the $2M he’s owed this year.

  26. BTW, another bad injury due to a head first slide (Josh Hamilton). If I were the Braves, I would forbid Heyward from sliding head first. Keeping him healthy is far more important than saving (arguably) a split second on a play at a base.

    He is now “on pace” for 44 home runs.

    Re comment about Escobar from the previous thread: it’s not a matter just of “personality” when a guy loafs, drops a pop up from being too casual, lets calls by the official scorer distract him, and almost gets the first baseman killed by a lackadaisacal throw. Those are specific problems with play. He did a lot of things to hurt the team physically on the field. How long do you accept things like that? It’s one thing to make fun of “clubhouse chemistry” but it’s another to seemingly think players should have no accountability for their actions as long as they have talent. Maybe ultimately the Braves will regret the trade, but I can’t come down too hard on them for being fed up with Yunel. It wasn’t just his personality in the clubhouse.

  27. The bunt absolutely did not work! If McLouth had done ANYTHING but find a way to make two outs, Prado would’ve scored on McCann’s HR.

    My problem isn’t that he was bunting but that he wasn’t bunting for a hit. At least give yourself a chance to not make an out there! A drag bunt down the 1B line has basically the same effect as the sacrafice (if you do it right) but then there’s a chance you make it to first. Just conceding an out is dumb. At least put some pressure on the defense with a player who’s quick enough to get the occasional bunt single.

  28. saw the Hamilton play on sportscenter this morning. there’s no other way he could have scored than by sliding head-first. just a freak accident. he didn’t even hit the catcher.

    of course he threw his 3rd base coach under the bus, too. what a loser.

  29. Not sure which is the real Tommy Hanson. Sure hope it was the one we saw yesterday.

    Now would be a really good time to trade Hanson and McLouth for McCutcheon.

  30. 43—I’m still waiting on the teams to finalize the Jurrjens/Freeman/Teheran for Pujols/Rasmus deal.

    EDIT: And, speaking of Rasmi, Cory struck out 9 of the first 10 batters he faced, last night.

  31. 44 – I don’t particularly care that much about the bunt–I was just stating the case for those who do–but in my view, it was a straight sacrifice.

    If we’re going to insist that our #2 hitter bunts over a guy already in scoring position, then perhaps we should be happy Heyward is not batting 2nd. But that’s almost tautological to say. I’ll just conclude by saying that I wish Heyward was batting second and not ever laying down a sacrifice bunt.

  32. @ 39 Agreed. Trading YE was needed to get him to grow up. Staying in Atlanta would have reinforced poor behavior.

  33. kruger,
    It’s true that there are rumors & it’s true that the Thrash ownership situation is a mess. Their future is uncertain.

    Due to the NHL’s relatively lame TV deals, hockey is the one North American sport where you actually need to attract fans and/or make the playoffs here & there to remain a viable franchise. Hockey may be 0 for 2 in The ATL.

  34. #42/49
    I’d guess that Josh Hamilton’s gonna hafta get through this injury without the requisite painkillers. It’s a bad scenario for the Rangers & even worse for him.

  35. when a guy loafs, drops a pop up from being too casual, lets calls by the official scorer distract him, and almost gets the first baseman killed by a lackadaisacal throw.

    Gonzalez made an almost identical throw within two weeks of coming over, and has made his share of errors as well.

  36. As a Thrashers season ticket holder, I really hope they figure out some way to stay in ATL. Unfortunately the current ownership has managed to get the team in a situation that may not encourage new investors/buyers. The Thrashers are almost certainly gone if the Coyotes figure out some way to stay in Phoenix.

  37. The infield defense has been exemplary so far — several plus defensive plays, and the only error so far was on a ball shielded from AAG by a baserunner.

  38. 46 – He actually struck out the first 8 batters in a row…and still lost the game.

    I was at the Gwinnett game last night. Minor’s control was good, but the gun didn’t have him topping 90 that often.

  39. #43 – Not sure which is the real Tommy Hanson. Sure hope it was the one we saw yesterday. – justhank

    Why do some think Tommy isnt a good pitcher?

  40. Mac – not sure if the imposter was Cyborg Tommy Hanson, or if the pitcher we saw last night was Cyborg Tommy Hanson. Either way, loved last night’s tweet:

    “WHEN LOS MARLINS PLAY BASE BALL IN FIELD TURNER, PERCENTAGE OF HUMANS IN ATTENDANCE WITH STATUS:”CHOLO” INCREASES EXPONENTIALLY”

  41. You know, last night’s game was just one of those where pretty much everything went right – even McLouth and Linebrink were playing well, for pete’s sake. I hope we have lots more like that.

  42. Marc, I just don’t believe that sliding headfirst is more dangerous than sliding feet-first. Most of the catastrophic injuries that take place sliding are on feet-first slides, injuries to the ankle, lower leg, and knee. Pete Rose, who played more MLB games than anyone, ever, slid head-first — partly just for attention’s sake, but also because he was convinced it was safer.

  43. @60

    I agree. If you are playing a sport, there is a chance you will get hurt.

    If he slid feet first, there is a chance he breaks his leg. If he did a tripple axel at the plate, he could havve stubbed his toe.

    Second guessing is now America’s favorite past time.

  44. Hap, I feel your pain as I was a Winnipeg Jets ticket holder when they left town.

    It’s crazy to think that the best financial model in pro sports today is probably the NFL, and they are trying to piss it all away.

  45. Do we know for a fact that Fredi ordered the bunt? Sometimes players get the stupid idea into their heads that they should make a productive out on their own. And Lord knows that Nate had a rough year last year. I could imagine him wanting to give himself up on offense (and, hey, it doesn’t decrease your batting average) as a way of being selfless. I hate bunting with your #2 hitter, obviously, but I don’t know whether this one is on the skipper or on the hitter.

    And, in regards to Smitty at #24:
    I vote that we start calling Moylan “The Mule,” becasue of his work load.

    I’m trying really, really hard to resist making a reference to the Foundation Trilogy. But suffice to say that I hope that Moylan’s as successful at conquering his enemies as the Mule was.

  46. Nate’s bunt got the job done yesterday. It looked like he was trying to bunt for a hit, but who knows for sure.

  47. re: Nate’s bunt, situation has something to do with it also. I would suggest (without any meaningful statistical analysis) that midway through a 3-0 game, the 4th run is more important to push across than the shot at a 3-4 run inning with the risk of getting nada. How many leadoff doubles did the Marlins strand last night? seemed like a few.

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