Braves 4, Dodgers 3 (11 innings)

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves – Box Score – August 17, 2012 – ESPN.

Well, that’s another win. It may only serve to keep pace with the won’t-lose Nats, but it’s a lot better than the alternative, which was a real possibility against longtime nemesis Chris Capuano, who came into play with a 2.64 career ERA against the Braves, and with Tommy Hanson making his first start coming off the DL.

The Braves took the lead in the second on a solo homer by Chipper Jones. Hanson pitched five innings of shutout ball, but after the third he was lucky to do so. Martin Prado threw out Andre Ethier at home, trying to score from first on a double, to end the fourth. In the fifth, the first two hitters singled, then went to second and third on a groundout, but Capuano was due up and lined out, and the next man struck out. Still, arguably Hanson should have been lifted there and told, “good job”, the game handed over to a rested bullpen.

Instead, he started the sixth. Chipper misplayed a ball down the line that was inexplicably called a double (he got his glove on the ball and at minimum should have knocked it down to save a base). Two batters later Ethier hit a two-run homer to give the Dodgers the lead. Fredi then let Hanson pitch the seventh. He gave up another leadoff double, got the next two men… and there sits Shane “Burn In Hell” Victorino, picked up at the trade deadline. He doubles and it’s 3-1, Hanson out of the game.

The Braves, meanwhile, couldn’t do much with Capuano. But Paul Janish singled, one of three hits for him on the night, leading off the eighth. Reed Johnson had a pinch single. Michael Bourn sacrificed them forward, then Martin Prado drove in a run with a grounder. Then the big hit, as Jason Heyward, 0-3 with two strikeouts to that point, singled to tie the game.

The Braves had a big advantage in that their bullpen was well rested and the Dodgers’ was not. Craig Kimbrel threw the ninth, issued a walk and his usual two strikeouts. The Dodgers got a runner to second on Eric O’Flaherty in the tenth with an error on Freddie Freeman and a Burn In Hell sac bunt, but he got out of it. The Braves had a golden chance in the bottom of the inning. Bourn singled with one out, stole second, and went to third when Matt “My Wife Wears the Bikini Bottoms In This Family” Treanor‘s throw went into the outfield. But after getting ahead 3-0 Prado struck out, and after Heyward walked Chipper flew out.

Jonny Venters gave up two hits in the eleventh, but luckily a double play was sandwiched between them. The first two batters went down weakly in the bottom of the eleventh. But David Ross singled, and unlikely hero Janish singled, and suddenly Juan Francisco could win the game with a single, which he did, hitting for Venters, who picks up the win.

106 thoughts on “Braves 4, Dodgers 3 (11 innings)”

  1. great come from behind win… now if only those useless Mets would put up a fight and win a game…

  2. I would like to say thank you to Don Mattingky for taking out Capuano at 90 pitches and bringing a righty in to face Prado and Heyward, who had done less than nothing against Capuano.

    Still, chapeau to the Braves for coming back from behind in what looked like a sure loss. No matter how this season ends ( I predict a loss in the one-game playoff, btw), this bunch of players has already done a lot to be proud of.

  3. Not to blow my own whistle (though if I could I certainly would) but my prediction was pretty spot on for last night. Would have been essentially perfect had Hanson not started the 7th. Here’s what I said yesterday and sorry I can’t do the italics thing:

    I’ll take a stab and say Hanson will go: 6IP, 6H, 2ER, 2BB, 5K, 2SB.
    Braves win 4-3.
    August 17th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

  4. Yeah, but then you’d never get married.

    As a consistent Hanson-basher (I firmly believe the Braves should trade him before he breaks down again), Tommy pitched a pretty strong-minded game. For him.

    Now the Sheets / Hanson contest gets even more interesting tonight.

  5. Oh, and @Coop at 161 last thread?

    All of the freaking money. Bourn is a very important part of this team, career year or not, and he’s got a skill set we seem incapable of developing ourselves. we need to make a serious push to keep him.

  6. Prado’s play to cut the ball off and nab Ethier at home was pretty spectacular. The throw while spinning was dead on. It’s a shame there’s just GG for OF and not by OF positions because Prado, Bourn, and Heyward all deserve one.

    WAR update:
    Bourn- 4th (jumped 1)
    Heyward-5th (jumped 3)
    Chipper- 23rd (jumped 7)
    Uggla- 41st (down 2)
    McCann-53rd (down 6)
    Freeman- 56th (jumped 1)

    Bench Players WAR:
    Janish: 0.3 (included because he’ll resume a bench role in a few weeks)
    Ross: 1.3
    Franciso- 1.1 (Juan pulling closer to an .800 OPS)
    Johnson- 1.1

  7. Speaking of Janish, does anyone else think Simpson and Caray praise him to high heaven just a little too much? You’d think Janish was Ozzie Smith listening to them. Caray especially falls over himself talking about what a great defender Janish is after seemingly every ground ball he fields, even if it’s routine.

  8. I dunno, Dan, Janish is playing pretty darn well. Some of the hits he is turning into outs have been vitally important to our recent success.

    And if he can just a little …

  9. Janish has played pretty well since coming over. I know people on here are dying to knock him, but he has been better than we thought he would be.

  10. When Simmons returns, would all of you bench Janish? I’m not so sure. We are winning with him, and I would hesitate to change horses in the middle of a pennant race, especially given the fact that it might take Simmons a while to get back to 100%.

  11. it’s not the number of hits he’s gotten, but when he’s gotten them, that’s made his sub-par hitting easier t swallow.

  12. Simmons may need a few games to get back up to speed,but he’ll be back in the lineup. I like Janish, he can give Simmons some rest now and then.

  13. #14 – Simmons is still a far superior player to Janish even at 80%. Good thing is we dont have to rush Simmons back and Janish has done more than we couldve expected. But yes, when Simmons is ready we bench Janish.

  14. I’ll chime in. Simmons is a little flashier IMO, but it’s a joy watching Janish play SS. From a fundamentals standpoint, he’s damn near perfect.

  15. But it will be good to have Yanish on the bench, just in case.

    I hope we can keep Bourn, Bethany; but I hope we only need to give him most of the money.

  16. Let’s talk about “all of the money.”

    Interestingly enough, Michael Bourn is probably in a similar situation to Carl Crawford a few years ago. The Red Sox experience with Crawford’s 7-year, $142 million contract will clearly shrink the amount of money that Bourn can expect to receive, and Crawford was a year younger than Bourn will be at the time of free agency, but still: I think it’s reasonable to expect that Bourn will be tendered a contract of between $15 and $18 million a year for 5 to 8 years. (No one will give him Crawford’s $20 mill average annual value.)

    So that’s a minimum of 5/$75, which I’d certainly pay, to a maximum of 8/$144, which I certainly wouldn’t pay.

    But how much would you pay? Would you be willing to give Bourn $100 million? I wouldn’t, and it’s very likely he’ll get that. Would you be willing to give him $90 million? $80 million?

    You know our payroll constraints, and you know that it’s unlikely that our team will get purchased in the next few years. If Bourn gets $18 million a year, that will be about 20% of our total payroll. How much can the Braves afford to pay Bourn?

  17. Can Yanish or Pastornicky play center next year. Simmons could, but he is more valuable at SS. Redd in LF ith Prado at 3B. I know we will lose something on offense unless Simmons is as good as he has played so far.

  18. Janish everyday in center? Don’t even his more ardent supporters say his value mostly stems from above average defense at shortstop?

  19. I wouldn’t offer Bourn more than 4 years @ $12MM/year.

    On another subject: Francisco’s progression as a hitter is encouraging. He has a lot of natural talent, with impressive power potential. It appears he has bought into the program with the Braves. Going the other way to win the game last night is very positive. He seems to have a good attitude towards change. That’s important.

  20. Was thinking about Braves and MVPs…

    Of the last 24 MVP awards given out (in both leagues), only 3 awards were given to players on teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Those were Rodriguez in 2003 (Rangers), Bonds in 2001 (Giants), and Pujols in 2008 (Cardinals).

    That being said, these players were far and away the best players in baseball those years, averaging 10.5 WAR between the three of them. Nobody in the NL stands out that much this year compared to his peers. Which makes me think, if the Pirates miss the playoffs and Heyward/Bourn light it up, a Brave may have a (very miniscule) chance at MVP this year.

    It also surprised me to learn that the Giants won 5 straight MVPs to start the millennium. Ah, the good old days of BALCO….

  21. 20,

    Great thoughts. I have feeling Bourn’s secured himself a 5/$90 contract, with the bidding just going up from here. But to answer your question, I would hope this team doesn’t pay that much. Paying a player that

    Is coming off his career year
    Who is about to enter his thirties, and
    Whose primary skills involve speed and defense

    sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  22. I personally dont want Janish or Pastornicky being an everyday player at any position next year. Janish plays a good defensive SS and is fine batting 8th. However, neither should be given a shot in CF. I would rather keep Reed as a bench player/OF sub than an everyday player in LF also.

  23. 27,

    I agree that he’ll rightfully deserve it, regardless of his team’s outcome. But the point was that he’s still one or two levels down from the dominance that the other three players to win the award showed. The post wasn’t an argument for why Bourn or Heyward should win MVP, but rather exploring a situation for how they could.

  24. I don’t think the Crawford comparison holds water. Crawford had a much higher profile, and while Bourn’s power uptick this year is exciting, it’s not something anyone predicted nor something I would count on happening again. With Crawford, there was always the hope he’d be a 30/50 guy during his peak.

    That said, I do think there’s a fair chance that bidding on Bourne gets completely out of hand. If the Dodgers want to move Kemp out of center, they could throw a bunch his way. Texas might as well depending on how things go with Hamilton. And of course the Phillies should be expected to be in on him as well.

    If Bourn signs with the Braves, it will be because they gave him a competitive offer and he likes playing here, not because they gave him the top offer sheet.

    I’d be fine with something like 5/$15M, but more years than that is a little scary because of age, and more dollars than that is scary because of Atlanta’s payroll structure. That said, I’d be delighted to keep him.

  25. What a breakout season for Jason. I think we can go ahead and drop the “young” from “one of the best young players in the league.”

    As for Bourn: I agree with Bethany that in some sense we “need” him, and that the Braves will be hard-pressed to stay in the East hunt next year without his production. But as Alex says, we plain can’t afford the payday he’s in line for. As a lower-mid market team, you can’t always get what you need.

  26. I heard on ESPN that Francisco’s single last night was the first ground ball he’d hit to the opposite field all year. Great timing.

    Once Simmons is back, I’d like to see Janish start at 2B when Hudson pitches or late in games when EOF or Venters come in.

    Victorino would be a decent consolation prize if we lose Bourn but even his defense has slipped this season. I’d almost rather inquire on Ellsbury even though the price will be high.

  27. Wren will probably trade for Dexter Fowler or something.

    Or try Heyward in center until he proves he’s not viable there.

    Or go with Constanza until this guy gets a little more “seasoning.”

  28. I would offer 5/$90. I would be willing to be driven up to six years and into the low 100s. The fact remains that this team needs a huge acquisition next year if it doesn’t re-sign him, or it has no chance to compete. And Wren hasn’t really shown himself as willing to make a huge acquisition where he sends a bunch of prospects in the other direction (which is what it would probably take). Therefore, might as well make him the huge acquisition and go from there. If it means not re-upping McCann the year after, I’m prepared to live with that. If it means not being able to sign Freeman and Heyward (and Kimbrel, for that matter) to McCann/Longoria-like deals and having to sweat it out in 4-5 years, I’m prepared to live with that, too, because there’s no guarantee any of those three would even take deals like that, anyway. I am deathly afraid of what Stu said @35, because it’s exactly what’s likely to happen, and it’s a path straight back into not being competitive for championships.

  29. Just so we’re clear, Janish is a pretty good defender but Simmons is on a another level.

  30. Yeah, they’re really not close. Janish is absolutely fine for what he does, and I’m glad the Braves have him. But Simmons is just INSANELY good at SS.

  31. @29, Oh I agree to an extent – interesting how close McCutchen is to Pujols’ 2008 stats though

    AM -.360/.426/.605/1.031 OPS+184 OWp .817
    AP -.357/.462/.653/1.114 OPS+192 OWp .833

  32. When you look at the rest of Pittsburgh’s lineup, it’s hard not to give McCutchen the MVP. Five of their regulars are rocking OPS+ numbers from 55 to 87. He’s at 184.

  33. Six years at $16 million per year would be my limit. I suspect the Braves’ offer will not be in the competitive range, and Michael will take his talents elsewhere, alas. I’d play in Philly or LA for six years at $20 million, were I he.

    I know a guy that got struck twice by lightning and lived. I find that more likely than Jeffy walking three times.

    Nice recap, Mac. Thanks once again for your stellar Braves community service.

  34. I’m still trying to figure out W.A.R., but it appears that Fangraphs has Heyward as the best baserunner and fielder in the National League. Now, I know he’s good, but I guess I still go by the old-school numbers a bit much. Is he really that good? And is it even more impressive at 22?

  35. Hard to see how a corner OF could be the top fielder in the league, but all the ratings systems are high on Heyward’s defense. Another baserunning system had Jason third among all baserunners (Bourn was first) so that’s not too out of line either. Heyward is having a great all-around season.

  36. When you consider that he’s close to being a viable CF, it’s reasonable to think that his range translated into a RF context makes him one of the best. He’s also missed very little time this year, and since WAR is a counting stat, that means he gets credit for being out there every day.

    As for the base running, his success rate on the basepaths has been excellent this year. I can’t remember the last time he got thrown out stealing or stretching a single into a double or scoring from 1st on a double. All of this makes it reasonable to me to think he’s been one of the best out there. Especially when you add in playing all the time factor.

  37. I’d go five years at 80 to 90 million. The Braves will be able to get 3B and LF at a reasonably low cost if they use Prado, Francisco, and Johnson (provided they sign him). I wish they could dump Uggla’s contract on someone, but I know they can’t (and wouldn’t). Pity.

    Re: Heyward, I love him and he’s having a monster season–he should be a 6+ win player at season’s end–but he still needs to hit lefties. Once he does that he’ll be elite.

  38. Pay what it costs to resign Bourn, and let Gattis and Francisco platoon, with Prado playing 3b or LF depending on starter handedness. Resign Reed Johnson as insurance, resign Diaz to a minor league deal as depth. If Gattis or Francisco becomes untenable, try the other fulltime, and then make a trade.

    I, personally, would like a Cardinals type roster, with only 4 or 5 guys who play the same position for 150, and 10 guys who play multiple positions for 115 or so, but deserve to play more, over the 8 regulars and 6 one-dimensional player bench. I think Prado, Johnson, Francisco, Gattis and Pastornicky can be a good start toward that end. (Pastornicky obviously being the biggest question mark there.) Let Gattis be a LF/ third C/ third 1B, Francisco be 3B/ second 1B, Johnson your third LF/ second CF and RF, and Pastornicky you second SS/ second 2B/ third CF.

    Without looking at any depth charts, that’s what the Cards and Rays look like to me, and it makes them very flexible and let’s them ride out injuries, and in a strange way makes them more stable, as they don’t have Dan Uggla’s guaranteed spots, who they then have to endure for 70 awful games, and when a guy is pressed into full-time duty, he’s been playing regularly, so you know what you’re getting from him. It frees them to be surprised and ride hot hands to winning streaks.

  39. The early lineup I saw had Chipper in there, hitting cleanup. As it’s the Civil Rights Game, there’s a certain amount of pressure to play your best lineup.

  40. Shawn/46: It’s actually somewhat less impressive at 23, because defense and baserunning tend to peak early. So let’s just enjoy it while it lasts.

  41. Tonight’s Civil Rights Game…the winners get civil rights. The losers get forced labor. This time it counts.

  42. McCann is out of the lineup. Has a frayed labrum. He thinks he can play and isn’t happy he’s out of the lineup.

  43. Regarding McCann’s disappointing season, at least the should-we-offer-him-a-lot-of-money-to-re-sign-him question is going to be a pretty easy one for the front office.

  44. That was a bit of bad luck though, it looked like he held up enough that it would have been a ball.

  45. Bud Selig infests the broadcast booth this inning to talk about the Civil Rights game, etc. In every perfect day, a little rain must fall.

  46. Ben, hope you enjoyed being in the rotation, because that ain’t gonna last much longer.

  47. Sweet diving stop by Uggla. Who’d have thought he might be more valuable for his glove than his bat? (Without being hopelessly snarky, I mean.)

  48. Ballgame. Not that there’s ever a good time to groove one, but that was worse than most.

  49. wow…Sheets has been on the ropes here of late.

    (i know, i know…stating the obvious. what can i say? it’s a gift)

  50. They are still the Mets, but the beat the Nationals 2-0. Incompetence apparently gets boring.

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