Braves 4, Nationals 0

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals – Box Score – July 21, 2012 – ESPN.

The excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged, must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation raised as is dictated not by reason, but by desire; expectations raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the expectant; an expectation that requires the common course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken.
— Samuel Johnson, Letter to Baretti, June 10, 1761

Remember to not have any hope
— Mac Thomason, game thread, Sept. 13, 2009

The Braves have two straight wins against the Washington Nationals, Ben Sheets is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 12 innings as a Brave, Chipper Jones hit a fist-pumpingly awesome pinch homer in the 9th and has 4 RBI in two days against the best team in the league, and the Braves are within 1.5 games of the division lead. If we don’t start pumping the brake on the hope car, it could become a runaway train.

Why we should maybe be slightly cautious:

Sheets got lucky today. He stranded multiple runners on base three different times, getting out of first-and-second with a strikeout in the 1st inning, first-and-third with a double play in the 3rd inning, and first-and-second in the 6th inning.

The Braves offense was awfully iffy today. While Sheets was walking on the edge of a knife, it was 1-0 for about two hours, from Brian McCann’s solo shot in the second inning through the bottom of the 7th. The Braves made it 2-0 in the top of the 8th in inimitable fashion, somehow scoring just one run despite a single, three walks, three stolen bases, and a wild pitch. A day after his best game in a month, Uggla got a golden sombrero, striking out four times in four plate appearances.

On the other hand:

The Braves recorded three double plays on the day, with Janish in the middle of two of them; say what you want about him, but I think he’s a better ballplayer than Jack Wilson and Tyler Pastornicky. I’d rather have Andrelton Simmons come back at 100% than force him to come back early and struggle the rest of the year like Heyward or Prado did last year.

Brian McCann had a homer and two walks in three plate appearances today. On July 7, McCann was batting .231, and Dave O’Brien wrote a piece headlined “McCann feels turnaround coming after session with his brother.” Since then, he’s hitting .344/.417/.844, with 5 homers and 9 RBI in his last 8 games.

Ben Sheets may give up a run at some point, but still. Randall Delgado, Mike Minor, and Jair Jurrjens have ERAs of 4.52, 5.69, and 6.20, respectively. It won’t take much for him to exceed their levels of suck. Sheets’s two scoreless starts equals the number of scoreless starts that those three knuckleheads have achieved between them.

Bourn, Prado, and Heyward were 4-12 with three walks and three stolen bases today. With a top of the lineup like that, we’ll wind up scoring a few runs by accident.

I still think Medlen should be in the rotation, but he pitched two more scoreless innings. He’s got a 0.73 ERA with four holds in 8 appearances this month. He’s really good. Hopefully, with Venters off the DL, we’ll be able to add the old Everyday Jonny into our mix, too. Durbin had a scoreless inning as well. He obviously melted down the other night, but Durbin has not been charged with a run in 29 of his last 33 appearances, as his ERA has shrunk from 8.25 to 3.58.

Since the Puerto Rico/Montreal Expos moved to Washington, following the 2004 season, the Braves have been 68-69 against them. Before last night, they were 66-69. In a couple of hours, they will have an opportunity to climb to an even .500, and if they were to win, tomorrow they would have an opportunity both to gain a winning record against the franchise and to take the division lead.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Chipper Jones has an even 1600 RBI. Last night, as you know, Chipper Jones pushed past George Brett to become the all-time leader in RBI by a third baseman. He gained the all-time lead in runs scored by a third baseman by passing Brett on July 1. (If he gets 28 more walks the rest of the year, which is unlikely but possible, he’ll pass Mike Schmidt for third on the all-time list for walks by a 3B, behind Eddie Yost and the great Darrell Evans.)

He may not retain his place on those leaderboards for long, of course. Some time, probably next year, Alex Rodriguez will have played more third base than shortstop; he’s currently just 77 starts and 633 2/3 defensive innings behind. And that will push Chipper to number two in RBI and runs by a third baseman. But, hell, there’s no great shame in that. George Brett will still be number three.

154 thoughts on “Braves 4, Nationals 0”

  1. “We hooked up out in the hall and he gave it to me,” Thome said. “It was good.”

    Is that it? Haha

  2. If we don’t start pumping the brake on the hope car, it could become a runaway train.

    The brakes, I’m sure, are fine.

    Watching Sheets pitch is reminiscent of watching Javier Vazquez.

    And hey, hasn’t @DadBoner been on a roll the last couple of days!

  3. I was going to go with: “We hooked up out in the hall and he gave it to me,” Thome said. “It was good.”

  4. “Lucky” seems a little harsh for Sheets. He did have some luck, but his FIP on the game was 2.57. Still pitched damn well.

  5. Was at the game today. Chipper’s pinch HR was awesome, complete no-doubter. All the Braves fans gave him a standing O when he came out on deck, and went crazy on the HR.

  6. Baserunning errors might have cost us: Janish getting thrown out at third and Heyward failing to advance to third when Prado got caught in the rundown.

  7. Washington is in 1st place, playing their closest rival. Watching the game today, my impression is that not many in DC cares.

  8. Washington is in 1st place, playing their closest rival. Watching the game today, my impression is that not many in DC cares.

    If the Nationals stay in first place, they might actually sell out a game. #NATITUDE

  9. @13
    Well, it was part of a DH. They had a good crowd last night.

    DOB says we called the Sox about Lester.

  10. 12: I don’t know that Janish’s attempt to advance on the hit was an “error.” Yeah, the play didn’t end up being close, but Bernadina hasn’t got much of an arm. He’s a guy you want to force to make a play. It won’t work out every time, it didn’t work out this time, but I wouldn’t extrapolate from the result to say the process was flawed.

  11. I love it when your base stealing lead off hitter starts the game with a single and yet Fredi allows Prado to hit into yet another dp without a hit and run or straight steal

  12. What might help Delgado though is the rainy weather and the wind blowing in from RF.

    Of course, when he’s really on, there is no help.

  13. Would you guys be interested in Lester if he was available? I have to think anyone would benefit form getting away from my bad juju.

  14. I think Lester is a good buy low candidate. Under contract through 2014. Could probably use a change of scenery.

  15. If there was a “wasted leadoff doubles” category, the Braves would lead the league by a several million.

  16. Sure, I’d take Lester of their hands. But I can’t understand why they’d trade him. They only owe him $24.6 million over the next two years and screwed-up as they are they’re easily in the hunt for the second wild car.

  17. Delgado throwing gas and spotting a change. It’s like he wants to get traded.

  18. 35- Or more positively, he knows that the rotation for the rest of the season (and even the playoffs) really only has Hudson and Hanson carved in stone, and he’d like to be there.

  19. 38 — Yeah, if JJ keeps pitching like he did last time he’ll be back in Gwinnett.

  20. Thought the Braves were looking for a top of the rotation starter. How does 4.80 ERA Lester alone fix anything? The Braves have a ‘Lester’ pitching for them right now.

  21. 42- I think the idea is that Lester’s pitched better in the recent past, but even then you can say the same of Hanson, Sheets and JJ (though not quite to the same extent). He’s not worth $25 million in my book.

  22. Hope you’re doing well, Mac, and I’m glad you’re back closer to home.

    Come on Delgado, you can get out of this.

  23. Oh not this again! Every few days we let in a run this way, and it never gets less embarrassing.

  24. Wonder what it would take to acquire Lester. I’d be interested.

    Lester at 2 years for $25
    Greinke at 5 years for $100+?

    Of course, the correct answer is both. ha.

  25. @11: Apparently there’s no truth to the rumor that the Astros are waiting until Tuesday to pay the Padres for the Hamburger that they bought today.

  26. And it’s not like we’ve got good choice for dealing with it. But Martinez is gonna do what he can.

  27. That changeup to Laroche was filthy. Delgado has #2 starter stuff. Easy.

  28. They burned three good relievers in the afternoon game. We’ve got a good chance.

  29. Good point. That fastball was right in the wheelhouse. Jason is slipping back into hone of his funks.

  30. Oh Jason. 0-2, then you look at a great pitch, take a terrible swing at a ball high and inside and then close out with one of your patented “swing through a pitch as if it was a hologram” swings.

  31. Of course, Lannan shut down our offense with regularity when he was regularly pitching in Washington (8-5, 3.5 ERA coming into today against the Braves).

  32. Did Freddy just forget that Varvaro was still here? Not that he’s especially memorable, but better him than a second inning of Martinez (or in game one, a first inning of Durbin; I don’t trust the guy, even if he did pitch well today).

  33. Gots to stay inside on Espinosa. There’s a reason he throws that knee up during the windup.

  34. Anything less than three-of-four, this series is a failure. A split is just breaking even.

  35. Anything less than three-of-four, this series is a failure. A split is just breaking even.

    Oh that note: Jurrjens is pitching tomorrow.

  36. This would have been a great game to win. Lots of pressure tomorrow to pull it out. If we don’t win the series it’s a massively blown opportunity.

  37. 141- Thanks, Dan, I was thinking I might get some sleep tonight.

    Well, today accomplished nothing at great length. Which describes 90% of my workdays, too.

  38. Chipper, Bourn and Prado were the only defenders not to eat shit in that game

    Chipper and Freeman were the only players not to eat shit at the plate.

    Chipper is the only player not to eat any shit.

  39. If John Lannan could face the Braves every five days, his ass probably wouldn’t be stuck in AAA.

  40. If the Nationals were playing the Braves every five days, Strasburg would be the guy stranded in Syracuse.

  41. Just watched the condensed game. I was convinced the Braves were going to crush them the way they got on Lannan early. Serious case of Hibernation Mode in the mid-innings it looked like.

    I’d question the decision to leave Lisp in as long as Gonzalez did, but I’m not sure who you go to. Venters? Ugg. Tough call.

    Gotta see if we can get ’em tomorrow.

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