Astros 3, Braves 2

Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 04, 2012 – ESPN.

Paul Maholm did his job in his Braves debut, but the team didn’t back him up offensively and he took the loss. If it wasn’t for Justin Maxwell, who hit two home runs for the visitors, Maholm might have won anyway.

Nobody scored in the first three innings. The Braves had a two-out chance in the first after Jason Heyward doubled and Chipper Jones walked, but couldn’t cash in. In the fourth, the first of Maxwell’s homers, a two-run shot, gave the Astros the lead. Dan Uggla hit into a double play to ruin a chance in the bottom of the inning. He made up for it in the sixth with a bases-loaded single to score two runs and tie the game. But Maxwell hit a solo homer in the seventh to retake the lead, and all the Braves produced the rest of the way, against a weak pen, was Uggla getting hit by a pitch, only to be erased on Juan Francisco‘s GIDP.

Maholm went seven and allowed three runs; that’s what the Braves were looking for from him. He struck out eight and walked two, which is more than they expected, but the two homers were obviously not something they wanted. Promising start, still.

83 thoughts on “Astros 3, Braves 2”

  1. On Gattis:

    He’s actually at AA now with discipline and power holding up. From the limited amount I have seen, he is hitting the breaking balls and heaters. And he hits against good pitching if you can believe the box score.

    All the arguments against him are about age relative to league, and they completely ignore experience relative to league. Give me some other hole in his game.

    As he would enter MLB near his peak, we’re probably not looking at a long all-star career, but several years of hitting the ball hard seem a reasonable expectation.

  2. @desert on last thread

    I didn’t clarify, but I meant the most valuable asset for the team in which the player was traded. Melky was DFA’d, Dunn was packaged for Uggla (which hasn’t proven to be a wise move thus far), Vizcaino was packaged for a 4th OF and a #4 starter with 1.5 years of control, Javy was terrible for the Yanks. The player that has, to this day, been the most valuable for either team involved is, by quite a large margin, Boone Logan.

  3. Ryan, I don’t think that analysis makes a lot of sense. You’re choosing to consider on-field performance as the only value a player contributes to a team.

    But contract value and trade value is valuable to a team too, and it’s also easily measurable. Andy Marte didn’t do a lot for the Braves, but he brought us Edgar Renteria and cash; Renteria did a lot for us on the field, but it would also be unfair not to ignore the fact that he brought us Jair Jurrjens via trade, and Jair provided a ton of cost-controlled value to the Braves before his recent ineffectiveness.

    Sure, Andy never hit well for us, or for anyone else. But he was tremendously valuable to the organization.

  4. @4
    I understand that, Alex. So in the Melky trade, who has actually brought value to the Braves or Yankees thus far?
    The 4 players and what they brought to their teams…
    1. Melky- terrible year, DFA’d
    2. Mike Dunn-packaged for Uggla after one year and Uggla hasn’t been the player the Braves were hoping for…
    3. Javy- terrible year for the Yanks
    4. Vizcaino- decent partial year in Atlanta, had Tommy John, and traded in a package for Reed Johnson and Maholm (could end up being more valuable than 3 years of Boone Logan).

  5. #2: Uggla hasn’t been the player the Braves were hoping for, but the real blunder was the expensive extension. Last year was Uggla’s last year on his old contract, and thanks to his insanely hot second half, he was well worth the money. He provided value to the Braves.

    #4: Yes, Vizcaino was used to shore up the ballclub this year and fill two important holes in the roster. He may become a shutdown pitcher for the Cubs, who will have him for five more years before free agency. Or he may build up his trade value and be used as a trade piece. Either way, unless injuries nuke his career, he is likely to provide value to the Cubs between 2013 and 2017; Maholm and Johnson are very likely to provide value to the Braves in 2012.

    The deal worked out horribly for the Yankees, of course, just like the last time they traded for Vazquez. I think the Braves got a fair amount of surplus value, in the final accounting.


  6. I feel oddly calm and and confident when Medlen pitches, kind of like when Hudson pitches. Works quickly, throws strikes, keeps the game moving

  7. I’m pretty sure that a) Strike 3 to Heyward was actually Ball 4; and b) Prado was safe stealing second anyway. I hate you, umps.

  8. Uh oh…a flare and a bleeder and we go to the pen. I am afraid Gearrin is going to serve one up to Maxwell

  9. What I feared…this offense should be ashamed for pissing away a good pitching performance 2 days in a row against the worst team in the National League. Now the concern is Venters and his affection for throwing wold pitches with runners in scoring position

  10. Gearrin is the last guy who should be used a lot over a short span of time, and every time Fredi brings him up he uses him over and over again until he gets rocked.

  11. If we could transpose the relative fan opinions of Gearrin and Durbin, that would be just super. It’s getting better over here, but over at Talking Chop…

  12. @36

    In my experience, if you can’t use a L/ROOGY when you need him, he’s pretty much worthless. He’s only pitching to one hitter.

  13. Durbin has a 5.21 FIP, right around his career average. He sucks. What does that have to do with Gearrin?

  14. Durbin’s been a hell of a lot better than I thought he’d be, but he’s nobody’s idea of a setup man. He’s a middle reliever who is usually somewhere between below average and a bit above average. This year he’s been comfortably above average. Given his extensive track record, I’m never going to be all that confident in him, but I’m basically fine with him.

    But the Braves’ usage of Gearrin is basically a textbook example of how not to break in a reliever. The same could be said of the way Bobby broke in Joey Devine, IMHO, and Devine was another righty sidearm/submariner who may have been best used as a ROOGY when he first came up.

    Gearrin hasn’t been put in a great position, but he spits out the bit with such frequency that Mother Theresa would be annoyed with him by now.

  15. @40

    I’ve gotten to the point where my eyes just glaze over when somebody throws FIP at me. Similar to my reaction when somebody throws UZR out after 20 games. The next time there’s a game without fielders, you let me know.

  16. FIP doesn’t say that there are no fielders. In fact, that’s the whole point. FIP tries to separate what pitchers do from what the fielders do.

    And, hey: Durbin has a 5.11 career FIP and a 5.00 career ERA. No matter how you look at him, he’s pretty much sucked for 13 years other than a really nice year in 2008 and a good year in progress in 2012

  17. @60 I’m not sure if that’s an honest question or sarcasm, so forgive me, but yes, he’s been slumping since the beginning of July.

  18. Yes, Bourn is slumping. He had a high-water mark after the game on June 15, when he was hitting .319/.369/.458.

    In 43 games since then, he’s hitting .239/.308/.358. His BABIP over that period has still been .315, compared to his career mark of .344, so it might be “luck”-related.

  19. I understand that, but that doesn’t change the fact that people are ignoring the good year in progress because it “shouldn’t be happening.”

    Also, if people understood that FIP is also measuring what should be happening rather than what is, it would be fine, too. Alas, they don’t.

  20. It’s not a good year in progress. FIP tells you how a guy is pitching, regardless of your opinion. He sucks.

  21. Nick, wouldn’t it be just as bad to ignore Gearrin’s success this year and have a kneejerk reaction to a double he just gave up to tie the game?

  22. Exactly, by the same logic, Gearrin is great–he has a 1.23 ERA! So why all the fuss?

  23. In 7.1 IP, Gearrin has given up 8 hits; 6 singles, 1 double, and one HR. He’s walked 2 batters and struck out 7. He has also induced 3 double plays. But hate away, irrational or no.

  24. Chips says “the throw is a lawn dart from Pearce”. I have to give credit where credit is due…that was funny

  25. All this talk about “mindset”–sigh. I’m pretty sure the Astros aren’t winning because they have so little talent at the major league level, not because of their attitude.

  26. @Adam, clearly for some people, low ERA is conclusive proof of good pitching. In Durbin’s case, his low ERA this year is the result of an abnormally low BABIP and very high % of runners stranded. He hasn’t pitched very well, but the results have been excellent. Since the Braves have benefited from this luck, I’m perfectly happy with how things have turned out. That said, Durbin is and always will be a 5 ERA-skill pitcher and nobody should try to convince themselves that he isn’t that person.

  27. #61: I know we live in an age drenched in irony, but I really did ask a question for the answer! Been overseas all summer and all that. It seemed Bourne’s numbers were down but I didn’t know how much.

    Thanks to Alex R. for the detail. Hope he starts having some of that good luck coming his way.

  28. @77 right, and for all of those reasons, we shouldn’t count on Durbin’s success to continue. Now, to be fair to Durbin, he’s inducing less hard contact and more grounders, so his success can’t be attributed all to luck. He has been successful in those regards. But he’s just as likely to regress in those areas as he is to continue–the man isn’t reinventing himself at this stage–so my advice would be to use Martinez and, if he returns to the pen, Medlen, in high leverage situations first.

  29. This may have been mentioned before, but it seems that the Braves’ roster this year is primarily made up of players who were either born or grew up in the south (including Texas). With Huddy, Maholm, and Minor starting with either BMac or Ross behind the plate; Venters, Gearrin, and Kimbrel closing it out; Bourn and Heyward in the OF; and Chipper, Janish, and Uggla in the IF leaves only two players from California with Freddie at first and Johnson resting Prado (oh, Medlen is also from California).

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