Nats 9, Braves 2

Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 30, 2011 – ESPN.

I just wanted to lead off by pointing out that Fredi Gonzalez used Craig Kimbrel to pitch the ninth inning trailing by seven runs. The man shouldn’t be allowed to use sharp pointed scissors, much less manage a baseball team.

The Braves were in it for about four innings. There’s something seriously wrong with Jair Jurrjens; he isn’t just “regressing to the mean”, he’s pitching legitimately worse, much worse. He gave up three homers, including a back-breaking three-run shot to Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth. He walked two and struck out three. He had one good inning, the first.

The Braves had a chance to be the bullies for a little bit. Trailing 1-0 after the first homer Jurrjens gave up in the second, the Braves loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the inning. But Alex Gonzalez popped out, and Jason Heyward just missed another grand slam, settling for a game-tying sac fly. It fell apart after that.

Vevn the Lisp couldn’t do his job; Cristhian Martinez gave up three runs, including a two-run homer, in the seventh. Arodys Vizcaino and — of course — Kimbrel looked good. Scott Linebrink is being saved for the close games… Heyward singled in a run in the seventh. So, of course, he’ll sit tomorrow, because that’s what you do with the only guy who drove in any runs.

61 thoughts on “Nats 9, Braves 2”

  1. Fredi’s usage of Kimbrel to hold us where we are in a 7-run deficit would indicate once and for all how little faith he has in “Rusty” Linebrink. [/sarcasm]

  2. Yesterday felt like Christmas eve with baseball at long last returning today, but this felt a lot like the Christmas when my sister gave me bed sheets and a salad spinner. Good game from Heyward though, which is like when I won our Christmas Scrabble game that year to take the sting off the rest of the day.

  3. I can’t decide who is pitching more petulantly – Jurrjens or Lowe. Oh great, a THREE game losing streak.

    Playoff rotation:


    Tell me I’m wrong.

  4. 4 – yeah, if Hanson can’t come back that’d be the group I’d choose. But Lowe will start come hell or high water. I gotta think Jurrjens will be DL’d soon for something, though. This is truly ridiculous.

  5. I am sure Fredi will say Kimbrel needs some “work”.

    JJ is hurt. It’s very simple. I don’t understand why we bother to push him out there. I guess we can count both JJ and Hanson out from the playoff. Lowe better finds his September/October form soon.

  6. Its comforting to know that the guy with the 2 RBI tonight will be sitting tomorrow. Combine that with our closer pitching down 7 in the ninth tonight. Nicely done

  7. I have a bad feeling the Braves miss the playoffs. I hope I’m wrong but things don’t look good for us. It’s really been an overrated season for us in Tomahawk Country

  8. @#10—–Shouldn’t Horner be on some kind of Megan’s Law Watch list for that commercial. CREEPY.

  9. You’d think one loss was the end of the world. And of course Kimbrel needed work. He hadn’t pitched in five days.

  10. EmmaStone:
    A little melodramatic, huh? 8.5 to 9 games up on the next two teams in the WC with 28 to play…I can tell you that Giants and Cardinals fans would trade places with us in a minute.

  11. AAG finds ways to hurt this team I didn’t know existed. When he came to bat with the bases loaded and nobody out in the second, he HAD to tie it, because even his trademark GIDP would have scored one, right? Of course, he popped up.

    With 2/5 of our rotation apparently being hurt, 1/5 being Lowe and the other 2/5 being rookie pitchers, things are not looking good right now. I say we’ll make it to the playoffs but exit early, like always.

  12. So much doom and gloom!

    It was one game after a weird 3-days-off thing that doesn’t usually happen unless there’s an accompanying home run derby. I remain optimistic, and the Brewers are a beatable team.

  13. I’m not sure how I did it without swapping over to the Shark Channel or the Nazi Channel or the NBA-History Channel, but I had the Giants/Cubs game on TV the last couple hours.

    I know we dropped a floater in the pool tonight, but that was some brutal baseball by the bay tonight, folks. Can’t say I’m terribly worried about our World Champion San Francisco Giants.

    We’ll be playing in Milwaukee come Oct. 1. (BTW, our probable NLDS home games would be Oct. 4-5.) I think a Braves/Brewers series could be pretty entertaining, and if we have to roll the dice with Hudson, Beachy, etc., so be it.

  14. It sounds like Hanson may be ok. But will he be ready for the post season? I hope he can at least make one start before October.

  15. I’m not worried about the Cardinals or Giants either. I’m worried about the starting pitching, which is starting to look like a real problem. Hopefully Hanson gets better–I think the team can be fine if he comes back with even moderate health.

  16. JJ is 13-3 with a 2.18 against everybody but the nats. He is 0-3 with a 9.56 against everybody else. 3 of his 7 starts after the break have come against Washington.

    The drop in velocity is disconcerting, as is the K/BB rate, but maybe some of his struggles are just one of those fluky things that happen in baseball… can hope, right?

    The braves are okay, and no matter who starts the games, the braves are going to try and ride this pen to the promise land.

    Every fall is the same story, if the braves hit, they will be fine in October. If they don’t, they will lose out early.

  17. @22: “Every fall is the same story, if the braves hit, they will be fine in October. If they don’t, they will lose out early.”

    Amen, brother.

  18. @13

    What the hell are you talking about?

    Also, Kimbrel had not pitched in a week. He probably asked to pitch last night. I can’t believe anyone’s making a big deal out of that.

  19. Just noticed that with last night’s Braves and Giants losses and St. Louis’s win, Atlanta’s magic number actually ticked up to 20 from 19. I’m not panicking or suggesting the Braves aren’t going to win the WC, but on a purely psychological level, going backward like that kind of sucks.

  20. The magic number yesterday was 20, its 20 today also. That number cant get higher. Even if we lose and they both win today, the magic number tomorrow is 20.

  21. I love me some Matty D!

    The 1st game of the Pirates series (the ESPN televised 2 hr rain delay game), I sat on the Pirates dugout and had a short conversation with Matt. I told him that the Braves were looking for a RH bench bat so don’t get too comfortable in Pittsburgh. During that entire game, he was throwing chewed bubblegum at Snitker. There must have been 15 pieces of gum scattered around the 3rd base coach box.

    Matt is signed for 2 years so this might create a bit of a roster issue next year.

  22. Love Diaz, but I hope this doesn’t come at the expense of Constanza.

    Our “critical mass” peaked when he and Bourn were pressuring our opponents.

  23. Don’t think it comes at the expense of anyone — the postseason roster will have an extra hitter on it, and that’s going to be Diaz, our new righty pinch-hitter extraordinaire.

  24. I suspect Diaz and Wes Helms will play September to see who gets to be the “RH Eric Hinske” for the playoff roster. Brooks Conrad’s position on the club just got more tenuous, as did Jose Constanza’s.

  25. I think at least for this year Diaz is strictly a pinch hitter. Constanza will still get starts as long as he makes the other teams uneasy when he is batting.

  26. DOB is saying they’re going to have him on the roster tonight, prior to the 9/1 callups (and thus eligible for the playoffs without a fake “injury” move.) I suspect Scott Linebrink is not long for this world.

  27. Sam, dont you have to be on the 25 man roster prior to Sept 1st to be eligible for the playoffs. If so, Helms isnt eligible.

  28. A player has to be on the ML roster – i.e. the 25 man roster – or the DL, bereavement list, suspended list or military list by 8/31 in order to be eligible for post-season play. Basically, if the player isn’t on the 25 man roster, or DL’d, bereaved or ineligible due to suspension or military service (that last one rarely applies these days) then he can’t be on the playoff roster(s).

    There are technicalities to get around this rule. If a player on the 25 man roster as of 8/31 is injured he may be replaced by any player on the 40-man roster, and the replacement is then eligible for post-season play. This is, notoriously, how Frankie Rodriguez made the playoff roster for Anaheim in 2002, even though he wasn’t a “major leaguer” until 9/18 of that year.

    I see little way to get Helms onto the 8/31 roster, barring a Brooks Conrad demotion. I don’t think that will happen. Helms is most likely an injury replacement backup, at best.

    The AJC is reporting that Diaz is going to be on the 8/31 roster, and thus eligible to play in the LDS by default. That means someone on the current 25 man has to be moved, and I’d bet that would be Scott Linebrink, at first blush.

  29. While I suspect Diaz is pretty much done–he has no home runs, and even against lefties he’s sporting a cool 704 OPS this season–I’m positively giddy about the possibility of Linebrink being gone. Whatever it takes.

  30. #43 – thats what I was thinking and wondering how you thought Helms could make the postseason as the RH bat. I guess you can always DL anyone for any reason. Moylan should be covered since he’s currently on the DL.

  31. If Helms were to get hot down the stretch, hit like he did in Florida last year, I suspect Brooks Conrad or Julio Lugo might find an ache or pain that they just couldn’t possibly continue to play through. Otherwise, Helms is there in case Chipper breaks something again.

  32. Sam,
    I have to agree with you on Helms. His only real value is Chipper insurance. At this stage in Chipper’s career, that’s not bad insurance to have.

  33. Glad to have Matty D back because he’s always been easy to cheer for.
    Hope he’ll be more productive than he has been so far this year.

  34. Rosters expand tomorrow, they will finagle this where they keep everybody on the roster today, on the roster tomorrow, unfortunately.

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