Cardinals 5, Braves 3 (11 innings)

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – April 29, 2011 – ESPN.

The Braves perhaps deserved to lose this game. They blew 2-0 and 3-2 leads, the latter in the ninth inning; they hit into three double plays, including one with the bases loaded and one out; they scored runs with four extra-base hits but couldn’t put sequential offense together and left eight men on base despite the GIDPs. It’s very annoying.

The Braves took an early lead when Jason Heyward hit a solo homer and Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla doubled to make it 2-0. But then Hibernation Mode set in, and then Tim Hudson had one of those innings in the fourth that are going to happen when you’re a ground-ball pitcher who allows a lot of balls in play. The Cards had four singles, only one of which was hit hard, and tied the game up.

The Braves had several chances to get back on top, but couldn’t, until Nate McLouth, of all people, hit a solo homer in the seventh that unfortunately capped their scoring. Jonny Venters got through the eighth, but Craig Kimbrel allowed a pair of singles and a sac fly to tie it in the ninth. Freddie Freeman, who had a pretty rotten night, committed an error to extend the inning and almost let the Cardinals win right there, but Alex Gonzalez bailed him out with a great play to end it.

Cory Gearrin pitched well in the tenth, but in the eleventh suddenly ran out of gas and allowed a two-out, two-run triple to Little Nick Punto of all people. George Sherrill, who is for some ungodly reason still on the team, finished the inning.

Dan Uggla led off the bottom of the inning with a walk. Tim McClelland, who had been trying to make himself the center of attention all night with longer and longer delays before making his strike calls, then rung up Freeman on a 3-2 pitch that was (a) several inches outside, and (b) called a ball all night, while (c) waiting several seconds to do so, long enough for Uggla to start towards second base and almost get picked off. Hey, all in a day’s work for the umpires, who are who everyone comes out to see. Fredi didn’t even have the decency to get ejected for protesting this unprofessional behavior. Gonzalez struck out, then LaRussa went with a LOOGY and Fredi left McLouth in instead of sending up David Ross to pinch-hit because he didn’t want to have Martin Prado playing center field and Eric Hinske left in a twelfth inning which, after McLouth flew out (hard, admittedly, to the opposite field) would never happen, saving him the indignity.

129 thoughts on “Cardinals 5, Braves 3 (11 innings)”

  1. Blah, frustrating, but I’m not upset by all the men LOB because until recently we haven’t had men on base. I think the offense is turning a corner.

  2. This loss is disappointing–I really hoped that we would pull ourselves(because it seems quite difficult) over .500.

    What a week for the Braves….

  3. No comments on the Mather pinch hit? I was at the game and it was epic. Absolutely pathetic.

    And next time you’re at the game, watch George Cheryl run in from the bullpen. He’s absolutely gassed by the time he reaches the infield.

    Those were my highlights tonight: 1) Mather’s shitty attempted bunts 2) Cheryl running

  4. I tweeted during the game that “Joe Mather is bad at baseball”. And he is. He’s the only player I know of to have a major league career based purely on batting practice. Why not use Hicks to bunt, if you’re determined to use a position player instead of Jurrjens or DUILowe?

  5. I didn’t see the at bat, but Mather wasn’t even that great at AAA. Unfortunately, the Braves have apparently long believed that Mather was a talent. Their faith in Mather (just like their faith in Proctor) is probably one of the reasons why the Braves were not aggressive in the offseason at building a better bench….

  6. I propose the nickname Joe Rather because I’d rather have him than Matt Young. That may not be true in the near future though.

  7. When you’re arguing about the relative bunting ability of several organizational types, your team may have some things wrong with it.

  8. We must be really good, because every night they ask us to play more innings than the rest of the games.

    World Series, here we come!

  9. I was under the impression that McClelland had a good reputation. If so, I don’t know where that came from. He was awful last night.

  10. A few notes from my first live game all year…

    When the Braves’ organization hired Fredi Gonzalez, they knew there were a lot of similarities between Bobby and Fredi, but the one big difference in Bobby and Fredi was the “fire”. Fredi, for most part, has backed his players up fairly well in the media, but last night was a clear example in the difference Between Cox and Gonzalez.

    Simply put, not getting ejected from that game last night was spineless. Fiery or not, wrong or right, it was a no-brainer. Multiple reasons follows:
    1. If Freddie Freeman, the 1st baseman that’s going to be with the organization for the good part of the next decade, says that the umpire stated “ball 4″ and then retracts and rings him up, you get thrown out protecting your player.
    2. When an umpire delays his strike 3 call on a 3-2 count by 1 1/2-2 seconds with 1 on and 0 out, to the point where the runner on first starts making his way to 2nd (not to mention it’s happened all night), you get tossed.
    3. 1 on 1 out, with the crowd now completely deflated (and a good crowd at that), spark some life back into the stadium and put up a fight.

    Bobby Cox was never the best in-game manager, but knew how to coach people. Fredi seems to have picked up the first trait, and thus far, has only picked up the 2nd trait through the media. Examples last night that Fredi makes poor in-game decisions:

    1. The Joe Mather at-bat. Why in the world do you call on a player, in his first Major league at bat of the year, to bunt? Secondly, why are you even bunting at all in that situation? What’s the point in having speed on the bases if the speed is never used? Let Hinske hit and give Prado and Heyward a chance to also drive in McLouth. Bobby would have bunted also, but that doesn’t make it smart. However, a slight contrast, Bobby would have never called on Joe Mather to bunt in that situation.
    2. Gearrin’s 2nd inning. Gearrin, much like Peter Moylan, has difficulty with the left-handed batter. I don’t know if there’s an easy choice, but letting him face Punto with 2 on and 2 out was a poor decision. Go with the matchup and *gulp* pray that Sherrill can do the job he was hired to do. Sherrill is being treated like last year’s Kawakami. If he can’t do the job, get someone who can.

    Going again today. Hoping for better results. It’s time to put together last year’s magic with this year’s talent.

  11. I know I paid my hard earned money to watch Tim McCellan last night. (sarcasm)

    Tim McCellan is a shit head dirtball. Fredi knows he has to deal with that terd on the bases for two mores games so he had to very careful in how he dealt with him, (on the field and in the papers today) because the timstard (tim + shit brick bastard) will hold a grudge.

    One thing I saw last night that may start a trend. If teams have LH batters on the bench they are going to start using them against Kimbrel in the 9th. Craig is going to have to make the adjustment.

    Also you can’t tell me the events of the last couple of days inside and outside the organization didn’t effect them some last night. The crowd and the players just seemed sorta listless.

    A game we should have had though.

  12. So much for backing up your rookie 1B who put up a great AB. Fredi you are becoming a douche and we all know it wasnt a strike.

    On the 11th inning dispute with Tim McClelland:

    “I think Freddie (Freeman) thought that he had called ball four. We almost got a runner picked off. That would have been big. For me, having the opportunity to look at it, a replay, for me it’s a strike. It’s too close to take. I’m not taking anything from Freddie, or any of that kind of stuff, for me, a two-strike pitch, you’ve got to swing at that. I’m not going to go home having the umpire making that decision for me in that game.”

  13. I don’t know about that, csg. On the replay and on Gameday it looked like a borderline call. By the strike zone in the rule book, it was too close to take. The problem is that McClelland hadn’t been calling the outside of the strike zone. When Freddie Freeman goes home and looks at the pitch, he’ll see how close to the strike zone it was. I guess Fredi felt like this was a teachable moment.

    I’m much, much, much more pissed off about using Mather to bunt, and Mather being unable to pull it off. I bet Jair Jurrjens would have been better at handling the bat.

  14. I can’t believe he threw Freddie under the bus…. I’m already done with Gonzalez, and I came into the season with no ill predispositions towards him.

  15. #18 – AAR you may be right and Fredi has a point about it being too close to take. However, when your player says the ump called it a ball, and it had been a ball all night, Fredi has to have his back and take the fall for him. He’s doing his best to get the winning run to the plate.

    Yes, Joe Mather is awful at baseball too.

  16. Dear opposing pitchers,

    Don’t worry about walking Braves players on full counts. I have instructed my players to expand their strike zones to swing at close pitches. I hope you appreciate my making your job easier.

    Sincerely,

    Fredi Gonzalez

    CC: Major League Umpires Association

  17. 19—Same here. I never would’ve believed that I could have a strong opinion of him, one way or the other, after so few games. But, here I am, wishing it had been Fredi who was assaulting fans and driving drunk, so that we might quickly be rid of him.

  18. On balance I am unhappy with Fredi. I don’t dislike him as much as many people here, as far as I can tell — I may be giving him too much mental rope as I reserve full judgment. But I’m certainly unhappy with him. We knew his bullpen management and in-game tactics would be suspect, and they have been.

    The real question now is how he handles the players on the team, and a big part of that is how he oversees the development of the young players and integrates them into the team with the veterans. So far, I think we’ve all been extremely happy with Freddie’s progress this year, as well as that of the other rookies, Kimbrel and Beachy. Fredi seemed to do a good job with rookies in Florida, too. So I’m hoping that he knows how to handle people. If Freddie Freeman takes this the right way, and learns that he shouldn’t take anything for granted with two strikes, then the lesson may have been worth teaching. But if the manager simply wound up pissing off one of his key players, then it was a terrible move.

    I don’t know how the clubhouse has reacted to Fredi so far, other than to know that the morale has to be relatively low after losing all of these games late due to bullpen incompetence. Part of the effect of Chipper’s complaints to the media about ineffective starting pitching was to silently imply that the losses weren’t the manager’s fault. If Chipper felt he needed to cover for Fredi, that would be a bad sign.

    But, of course, winning is really the best and only cure for low morale. So Fredi had better win.

  19. Well, his in-game management has been brutally awful. From his squeeze attempt with Hanson, calling on Mather to bunt, asking AAG to bunt with Young and Conrad to follow, not allowing Ross to ever pinch hit, the LISP experience bunting and running the bases, and much much more.

    Now his most experienced, highest salaried vet, just got arrested for a DUI while racing his car in Atl. His pitching coach yelling out slurs to fans in other cities. Fredi’s also calling out any fan who questions him in the media. This is all in his 1st month as manager. He’s not at fault for all of his teams issues off the field because Lowe and Roger know better, but he’s the manager and its coming under his watch. Im not impressed with what Ive seen, which doesnt matter at all, but I dont know if he’s going to have the respect from the players that much longer either.

  20. Personally, I’m just excited that the Braves had enough runners reach to strand 8 and hit into two DPs. At some point, those runners will be on before the doubles/HRs instead of during separate innings, and those games won’t be close.

  21. @25 I’d pile on to the majority opinion that he should have gone apeshit on Tim. Whatever fallout from pissing him off would have been worth it. He would have built up a lot of goodwill with the players that he had their back. To not do that and then go after Freeman in public. I don’t know what he’s thinking.

  22. In Fredi’s defense maybe he’s destined to catch shit. That old saying you don’t want to be the guy who follows the legend you want to be the guy after that. Whoever that guy is is going to get a lot of well-at-least-he’s-not-Fredi cred.

  23. On the plus side, Beachy’s giving us another sterling performance. On the minus side, Mac correctly notes that the Braves are ready to make their instructional video, “Run Like Major Leaguers Or Decapitated Chickens.”

  24. Apparently, Beachy is pitching a sensational game, allowing two hits through five innings. Of course, I wouldn’t know, because Fox is blacking out the game — I even went to a sports bar and they subscribe to the baseball satellite package and they couldn’t get it. I will never understand why they are so obsessed with preventing baseball fans from watching baseball games.

  25. Alex, Prado tried to go to third on Heyward’s groundout to short and was thrown out, then Heyward was caught stealing. Genius baserunning all around.

  26. 43- Heyward hit into a fielder’s choice to erase Prado, and then was caught stealing.

  27. Do we think Jason was running on his own, or did he get sent?

    That seems to be the only part of his on-field game that is below average. He has decent speed and appears to be a smart baserunner the rest of the time, but he sucks at basestealing.

  28. We’re hitting .326 with runners in scoring position. I will now stop believing in statistics.

  29. He now leads the staff in K’s and he’s given up less hits than any other starting pitcher with 6 starts. Only Huddy hs thrown more innings.

  30. it’s ok… the Braves lead the league in hitting with RISP. (they must be 2/5 on the season)

  31. Venters and Kimbrel must have left their awesomeness in San Diego, or maybe Hartsfield. Someone needs to go and check.

  32. Shit. We can’t keep giving up leads in the 8th and 9th inning against these guys.

    I can’t blame Fredi; I would have sent Beachy back out there for the 8th, and they’ve been scoring runs off Venters and Kimbrel, the best pitchers we’ve got. But this sucks a lot.

  33. Well, Beachy got cute and walked the #8 hitter and it cost them the lead and most likely the game since the offense has gone into hibernation now.

  34. Heyward’s awesome, however, is right where it needs to be. (If you forget his 1st inning performance.)

  35. We’re about 6 combined inches from two runs, already. As it is, there’s a man on second with one out.

  36. Lots of balls hit right on the screws, and doing no good whatsoever. Baseball is not fair.

  37. On the bright side, Vanderbilt is absolutely pummeling Tennessee for the second day in a row.

  38. Well, if nobody in the bullpen is gonna be able to get outs, it’s gonna be hard to win at all with this offense. Like, at all.

  39. Outplayed the Cardinals for 17 out of 20 innings and will have lost both games. Maybe Kimbrel isn’t the best reliever to call on against St. Louis

  40. I can’t even break down anything to analyze it, I’m so frustrated. The baserunning was terrible, bullpen was terrible, Beachy was amazing and the team and he have nothing to show for it. How does your number 5 go 7 scoreless and you still lose?! To the Cardinals!!!!

  41. Is nobody but me upset about Prado’s effort? He practically walked to the ball. Laird should be on second.

  42. and I just watched another Brian Wilson’s beard commercial. It keeps getting worse…

  43. 102- That was the only good thing in the last 30 minutes, since we don’t Fear the Beard. Just our offense, defense, bullpen, and manager.

  44. Sherrill pitched competently and Kimbrel didn’t. This is a strange and disturbing universe.

  45. I know, right? Sherrill just gave this team a shot. A small shot, admittedly, but still a shot.

  46. Good Lord, that was a terrible strike three call. Blue, when a pitch is at the letters, that doesn’t mean “Nike!”

  47. @116 You need to use a proxy through another country. If you are using Firefox use FoxyProxy, if not then google it. Just find a list of free ip’s and keep plugging one in until it will load past the login screen. You don’t need it for the full game.

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