Rockies 6, Braves 0

Yesterday, the Rockies and Braves had five hits apiece, and the Braves won 6-1. Today, the Rockies outhit the Braves 10-9, and won 6-0. Does that make sense?

So I understand how it is that the Rockies scored six runs on 10 hits, three walks, two wild pitches, and three errors. What I don’t quite get is how the Braves got nine hits and two walks and didn’t get a single run. It certainly helped that fully half of the Rockies’ hits went for extra bases, including two solo homers off Tommy Hanson, while the Braves got 8 singles and a double.

And with Paul Janish and Hanson at the bottom of the lineup, it gives an opposing pitcher the equivalent of two automatic outs, which will always help strand runners. (That’s not entirely fair to Janish, who has an occasional knack for a timely walk or a timely hit; his .271 OBP is only a few points below the .276 OBP of J.J. Hardy, the shortstop of the Orioles, who tonight moved into a tie for the lead in the AL East. But Hanson is so bad at hitting that he’s almost like two pitchers.)

The Braves played horribly in the field and on the bases tonight; in addition to the aforementioned two wild pitches and three errors, there were two caught stealings. The first one was by Michael Bourn, and it came in the 1st inning. It’s his 11th of the year, and unlike many of the ones we’ve seen, he was really out. Then Martin Prado was caught in the 6th on a botched hit-and-run when David Ross struck out swinging with men on first and third with one out; Prado was the man on third, and was dead to rights.

So, in both games, the team that made a bunch of errors is the one that lost. In some vague way, justice was rendered unto the Baseball Gods. It still sucks, though.

168 thoughts on “Rockies 6, Braves 0”

  1. Chipper had two hits tonight, which gives him 2713 for his career. That moves him one past Dave Parker for 61st on the all-time list. Up next are Bill Buckner, Rusty Staub and Lou Gehrig. 12 more hits and he moves past Roberto Alomar, which will be a nice moment should he attain it.

  2. Just read through the thread. The contrast between wins and losses is kind of hilarious.

    I actually think Overbay, and to a lesser extent, Baker, have some value. It’s the crappy veterans in the bullpen that irks me: Batista will be prominently involved in a gut wrenching loss, mark my words.

  3. I could actually see the Braves making a viable (in theory, at least) strategy out of frequently acquiring scrap-heap players, if they were rigorous about a) scouting them thoroughly and identifying something they thought they could fix, and b) quickly dumping them if the attempted fix didn’t pan out. You’re likely to always have at least one replacement-level player on the bench/in the pen anyway, why not keep revolving different players through those spots in hopes that you can find a diamond in the rough?

  4. I just feel like we’re down two big bats (McCann and Uggla) and replacement scrubs aren’t going to help much. We needed an impact bat. I’m sure there wasn’t much out there to be had without giving up more than some are comfortable with, but there’s no more “wait-til-next-year” with this team. This *is* next year.

  5. If you can’t beat a guy who was 1-8 with an ERA over five, then who can you beat? We’ve got to win games like that, period.

    I don’t blame Tommy though, he was one out away from a QS, which doesn’t say much, but his outing was at least not as poor as his previous one. It’s the offense that bothers me lately. We don’t hit, even against the weaker teams. If this continues, we are in for another rough September.

  6. Tommy was the beneficiary of a very generous strike zone. Even so, by the sixth inning they were teeing him up. He was one out away from a quality start, or one batter away from giving up six earned runs. I think we all know what was more likely.

  7. I’ve got no faith that this team is going to pull out of its tailspin. Chipper and Medlen are the only guys pulling their weight, even the pen is slipping.

  8. I’ve never thought the Braves were not trying. It’s just that the Nats are playing so well and the Braves are so meh. Putting Jason Werth at leadoff has been an inspired move by Davey Johnson.

  9. @9

    Davey Johnson is a pretty good baseball manager. It is little things like lineup placements that win.

    I guess you could say, “Davey Johnson knows how to win.”

  10. I have officially sworn off reading postgame quotes.
    Most of the quotes from Fredi, Ross, and Hanson (via DOB) report how well Tommy threw the ball, except for the two homers, of course. And how it got a little shakey there at the end.
    Hat tipping was involved.

  11. I know, Marc. I just get chapped when I feel like ballgames are represented as failures or successes of nebulous teamwide emotional attributes. Talent, strategy, and luck arguments I understand.

  12. Marc, are you sure you’re still a Braves fan? You seem to really love and respect the Nats a lot, and the Braves seem to aggravate you quite a bit.

    The contrast between wins and losses is kind of hilarious.

    Yes, it is. The wild fluctuations of emotion are typically from just a couple of usual suspects, though.

  13. krussell, I am reposting this comment by you from the end of the last thread because I totally agree with it.

    “… but have we figured out why our front office has decided that adding a bunch of barely-replacement-level scrubs to the team (Baker, Overbay, Batista, etc) is the way to go? Expanding the roster with crap isn’t going to do anything but send us packing.”

  14. They’d be replacement level on a 25-man roster, sure, but the advantage of an expanded roster is you only need the extra hands on deck to do the occasional thing that’s of value, and not the things that drag them down to replacement level. As long as they’re deployed sparingly and intelligently, they might help a little. NOT adding spare parts is a blatant waste of cheaply available resources.

  15. I hate losing, but if we are going to do it Id rather see some hope out there with Bmac and Uggla. Following the box score there why didnt Bmac hit for Ross when we had first and third with one out in the 6th. Did they have a lefty warming up? Not really sure why Avilan was the go to reliever after Moylan either.

    At least the Dodgers lost. Its a 3 way battle for 2 wild card spots IMO. Braves, Cards, and Dodgers.

  16. @14 – With McCann hurting and struggling, Uggla struggling, Hinske struggling, Diaz out, and Janish not good for anything but defense, I’m okay with the low cost/low benefit acquisitions (unless the ptbnl in some cases actually has a little long term value). If they can help us win one game, it will be worth it. I don’t think they’ll cost us any games (except possibly Batista) unless Fredi obsesses with giving them extra playing time. Of the acquisitions listed above, I have to admit that Batista is the one that is the most confusing and possibly damaging. The others are just fillers.

  17. For all the talk about Batista (and I hated the move too) we don’t win Sunday’s game without his two perfect innings.

  18. McCann is still out because he got another cortisone shot in his shoulder. I don’t know why we don’t just shut him down.

  19. My gripe is that we got roster-filler instead of a big bat. And our roster-filler is going to get a lot of playing time. That makes us marginally worse instead of just sticking to the 25-man roster.

    I’ll say it again…if Simmons can hold a bat he should be in the lineup tonight. We can’t roll out lineups with automatic outs at the bottom and expect to score much.

  20. Last I heard Simmons was to get some minor league action today and tomorrow and hopefully rejoin the team on Friday or so.

  21. He got the shot on Saturday and is apparently expected back tonight. Yippee.

    As an aside, I forget where I read it online, but there’s this thing out there that the Braves are rushing Bethancourt offensively because he’s close to ready defensively. The scout said it’s a shame because Bethancourt had some raw talent with the bat that wasn’t being refined. Makes you think McCann almost certainly won’t get extended.

    It’s funny because all of the stuff out there about how McCann is hurting his future value by playing injured…all that is obviously being floated by the Braves to get more leverage in negotiating with him.

  22. @13

    I don’t think Marc realizes that he’s slowly turning into a Nats fan. I think it’s an entirely subconscious thing, and one day he’ll wake up and say, “My God, am I a Nats fan?” The transformation isn’t complete yet, though.

  23. Apropos of nothing, it occurred to me that Jeff Francoeur might play well only when he has a buddy. You know, a confidante…someone who can shepherd him through a new environment, someone he can pour his heart out to. Conversely, he may feel crushed…abandoned, even, when his special friend is no longer around. Looking at the year-by-year rosters of the teams where he’s had extended stops, it looks like he really missed Julio Franco, Gary Sheffield, and Melky Cabrera after they were gone.

  24. Recognizing what the Nats have accomplished with smart draft picks and wise trades and signings is not the same as morphing into a Nats fan. To concede that Washington is better than Atlanta this season is to face the obvious. Once the Braves are eliminated in/from the playoffs, I will have no trouble pulling for the Nats. They are a much more interesting team to follow this season than pretty much anyone else (I’m not sure about the A’s; their games just start too late and I am not an American League fan.)

  25. I said last offseason that the Nats would be the team to beat. Of course a one unnamed person was here to tell me otherwise. Anyone got the time to find how many runs Washington has scored since the Allstar break compared to Atlanta?

  26. #34 – HA

    Clarification – I thought that Washington was the team for us to beat for the WC spot, not the division.

  27. My objection to the roster filler off the scrap heap is that we had better options at AAA, a sad statement in itself.

  28. I admit to rooting for the Nats except when they play the Braves-when I go watch the Braves at Nats Park, I root for the Braves. I would prefer the Braves to win rather than the Nationals-and would root for the Braves if they play in the playoffs-but, in all honesty, if the Nats win the pennant, I have a chance to go see a World Series game. And I like the way the Nats have been put together; yes, some of it comes from having been so bad at the time when Strasburg and Harper became available, but they have a deep farm system and the owners have now shown the willingness to spend money, even though the attendence has been underwhelming until this year. The Braves, on the other hand, are owned by Liberty Media. Enough said.

    Sansho, I agree with your distaste for pseudo-psychological explanations for teams’ performance.

  29. @28 – The day that Jeff Francoeur is suspended for steroids is the day that Braves Journal spontaneously combusts.

  30. If Francoeur were busted for steroids, it would prove they have no positive effect on performance.

  31. I thought it would’ve been a three or four team race for the NL East crown, and one loser would be one wild card team. I did not expect the Nats to run away with it like this. They’ve played over their heads.

  32. Got Mets/Cards on the radio.

    It’s often disappointing to have to root for the Mets (usually out of self-interest), but at least they have Dickey on the mound today (going for #18).

    Of course, with Wainright starting for the Cards, there’s no guarantee that the Mets will score at all today.

    From Mets radio announcer Howie Rose’s open: “When Wainright is going well, he’ll get a lot of ground balls–and we don’t need to remind Met fans how effective his overhand curve can be.”

  33. @25

    If he can be a decent hitter and can get on base, there will be little reason to extend McCann.

  34. I also follow and root for the Nats, so long as they win one fewer game than the Braves after the 162 schedule is complete. Living in the DC area has been fun this year, with the Nats playing out of their minds and the O’s keeping the magic alive into September.

  35. I have an emotional attachment to the Braves after having followed them for 45 years that I don’t have for the Nats and never will. AAR is right-I grumble more about the teams I love. I always record Braves games when they are on TV so I can fast forward through the bad parts and the 9th inning. And I get really down when they lose-at 56 years old.

  36. Atl hitters really need to take advantage of the next few games on the schedule as we aren’t going up against any top flight pitchers (not that that helps us normally):

    Alex White, Chacin, Niese, Hefner, Chris Young, Wily Peralta, Estrada are the next seven.

  37. Recognizing what the Nats have accomplished with smart draft picks and wise trades and signings is not the same as morphing into a Nats fan.

    Sure — who claimed otherwise?

    I was mostly just pulling Marc’s leg in asking about his true fandom, but his Nats-defending/lauding and Braves-lamenting is not new to this season. :)

  38. What that basically means, because fWAR is component-based and bWAR is runs-based, is that the Nats have been better than us this year, but the Braves are probably better than they’ve looked recently.

    Especially if Huge Shit comes back soon.

  39. The Nats are way ahead of us in mlbWAR. That’s the only thing that matters.

    I can’t decide whether the Nats have been extremely smart, or just plain lucky (yes, it’s probably a combination of the two). Smart moves don’t land you two consecutive number 1 picks, and brains certainly don’t have anything to do having Bryce Harper and Strasburg in the drafts. They’ve made dumb moves such as the Werth contract, and seemed to have gotten lucky with their trades (Gio Gonzalez, for example).

  40. Yeah, it’s both. Amazingly enough for a staff that has two young pitchers who just returned from Tommy John, their starting rotation has been unusually healthy. Generally, when a team has their top starters all making 30 starts, that team is going to overachieve.

    Meanwhile, our best starter only joined the rotation a month ago, and our other best starter had Tommy John surgery a few months ago.

  41. The Nats have certainly been lucky, most especially in being really bad in the two years when Strasburg and Harper were available. Lots of teams are real bad in seasons when there are no transcendent players. And, frankly, they have had a lot of things go right this season; they could have lost a couple of games to Houston very easily. But even the so-called “dumb moves” (e.g., the Werth contract) have sort of worked out-he may not be worth the money but he is certainly worth having on the team. The Braves can’t overpay like that obviously although they have (Lowe and Uggla). Really, what money gives you is the luxury of being wrong. And that the Braves don’t have.

  42. Yeah our rotation has had major health issues to deal with as Hanson and Hudson both seem to have ailments that are hindering their performance. (Not to mention Sheets being hurt now too).

    On top of that we’ve had subpar years from Uggla and McCann and have gotten virtually nothing from SS this year. That we are leading the wildcard is pretty remarkable really.

  43. When your ostensible 4 and 5 hitters are playing so poorly that they must be benched, it’s astounding the Braves are as competitive as they are.

    (Tells you how good Jayson and Freddie have been and how friggin’ GREAT Chipper has been.)

    I’m trying to figure out how to blame Fredi for Uggla and McCann, but haven’t done so yet. Give me some time.

  44. Though it’s looking exceedingly likely that it’s not going to cost them the division, I still have to think that the Nats’ idiotic handling of their best pitcher is going to come back and bite them at some point. Let’s agree for a minute that the innings limit is a good idea and is totally necessary to ensure Strasburg’s health (though I’m skeptical). The fact that they didn’t handle it in such a way that might facilitate their best starter pitching in the games that matter most is absolutely mind-boggling. I can’t see a team without their best pitcher having much of a chance of doing a great deal in the postseason. And it’s a piece of idiocy that they’re largely getting a pass on, for reasons I can’t fathom. If I were a Nats fan (like Marc :p) I would be absolutely livid at their handling of this situation.

  45. Apropos of nothing, it occurred to me that Jeff Francoeur might play well only when he has a buddy.

    Having McCann in 2006, 2008 and 2009 didn’t seem to help.

  46. Nick, I disagree (and I actually wrote about it here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/strasburg-shutdown-a-defense/)

    First off, no one — least of all the Nationals — thought they’d be running away with the division in March. So it would have seemed crazy to delay his start to the season, considering that he pitched the end of last season.

    Also, exactly what do you think he’d be doing in April if he weren’t in the major league rotation? Most likely, he’d be throwing innings in extended spring training or in the minor leagues, putting miles on his arm anyway, to make sure that he didn’t completely lose his feel for the ball.

  47. Tonight’s lineup vs. COL (7:10, SPSO/680AM/BRN): Bourn 8 Prado 6 Heyward 9 Jones 5 Freeman 3 McCann 2 Uggla 4 Constanza 7 Minor 1

    Was just coming on here to post the same thing Joey. Prado at SS solves a lot of offensive woes, at least until Andrelton gets back.

  48. No way the Nats should have delayed Strasburg at the start of the season. But they should have been smarter about some of his starts after the All-Star game — skip him a time or two, hold back on an extra inning in a higher stress game, not send him back out ofter a long rain delay, etc.

  49. @64

    They say he has to have “extended rest” which means no cutting back here or there.

    I really think they thought they were a year away.

  50. You also have to wonder if the Nats strategy had anything to do with ticket sales. You’re trying to build a fanbase and want to start the season out strong. It may have hindered season ticket sales if the fans knew Stras was being held out until mid-May or something. You could also argue that the Nats wouldn’t be where they are without the innings that he’s already pitched. I think they handled it poorly knowing what we know now, but as some have said I don’t think anyone thought Was would be 7.5 up at this point of the season.

  51. @65 – I’ve read that too but an innings limit isn’t the same as a date limit. Rizzo is using an innings limit, so they should have used some of those innings more wisely. There were several easy opportunities to save some stress earlier, and Johnson should have taken advantage of them.

  52. Well, I mentioned the examples I recalled off the top of my head. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I think I’ve watched all of his starts this year and there were several instances where he could have been skipped to save a start and ewhere he could have been pulled earlier to save extra innings. Davey sent him out after an hour rain delay just about two weeks ago — not what I would have done in that situation. Davey did pull him early in the super hot weather start in Atlanta, but that was more because he was getting shellacked instead of saving innings.

    Anyway, I’m just a fan watching and there’s no doubt Johnson is smarter about this than I am. But it seems like there were missed opportunities. There will be hell to pay if Strasburg doesn’t pitch in the postseason and the Nats depart early.

  53. Well, here’s the other thing: whenever his situation is compared to Medlen’s, it’s assumed that there’s no way the Nationals could have put Strasburg in the bullpen for a month or two. Well, why the hell not? They had enough starting pitching to get them through. He would’ve been throwing enough innings to keep him sharp.

    The general point is that there were solutions out there. Would all of them have worked? No. But I’m sure that some of them would have. What the Nats did was basically the equivalent of driving toward a cliff, and rather than figuring out a way to avoid going over the edge, they have decided that they might as well not deviate from their course at all and on Sept. 12, they’ll basically go careening off the cliff with a shrug. Maybe they didn’t expect to be in this position at the start of the year exactly, but given the talk out of Washington, they did think the playoffs were a distinct possibility. And even if they didn’t, they obviously did after Memorial Day. I really just don’t get it. They are not a minor-league team. They have a chance to actually win the World Series. And they have severely lessened that chance for no reason other than that they apparently have no critical thinking skills.

  54. Keep in mind that the doctors offered a pitching regimine that limits some of these options — like pitching out of the bullpen. If the team follows the doctor advice, they were supposed to use him as an SP on a regular schedule and with the innings limit. But to your point, there’s no reason that schedule couldn’t have been adjusted after the All Star break to push his starts a few times to lengthen out the period before he gets to the innings limit. Anyway, water under the bridge.

  55. Yeah, I should point out that I’m glad they’re doing this. In addition to making it more likely that we could win the division (though the ship has probably sailed on that at this point), it also makes it easier to beat them in the Division Series, where we could very well face them if we advance that far.

  56. Bourn and Constanza in the lineup together? I like it.

    I’m told I overvalue speed. Tonight might be a good test of that.

  57. Cards lose. Dickey goes to 18-4. Thanks for the help, Mets.

    Weird ending to the game. With 1 out in the bottom of the 9th & the Cards’ Adron Chambers on 1st base, Yadier Molina flew out to RF for the 2nd out.

    However, Chambers ran past 2nd base & neglected to tag the bag on his way back to 1st base–and was called out. Double play. Ballbame.

    Hope we get the good Minor tonight. It would be nice to get back to 3 games ahead.

  58. If his specific doctors said that it’s very important that he get regular rest, fine. But I will point out that it was apparently less than crucial that Medlen get regular rest, and his injury was very similar to Strasburg’s. Not the same type of pitcher, but still…

  59. Braves to start 2013 with a home series against the Phillies. Lee-Hamels-Halladay right off the bat, huray!

  60. I think Mike Rizzo did what the doctors (and maybe Scott Boras) advised. I don’t think he just made this up as he went along. The problem is, there is no complete consensus on what to do so they adopted the most conservative course. Also, this is exactly what they did with Jordan Zimmermann last year. They obviously didn’t expect to be this good this soon. But they had announced all along that this is what they were doing with Strasburg. And, actually, most people here are ok with it; it’s primarily people outside the area that are upset. I don’t think there will be hell to pay if they win the division and lose in the playoffs because Washington hasn’t been in the post-season since 1933. And, while it’s obvious they aren’t as good without Strasburg, it’s not as if the other starters are slouches. I actually think if the Nats lose it will be because of their offense which, while potent at times, does not have a lot of patient, high OBP hitters.

  61. #77
    Let’s hope he doesn’t cough up a 3-run lead in the blink of an eye this time.

    Really, though, the only thing I worry about Minor at this point is that, innings-wise, he’s in uncharted territory.

  62. Home plate’s jumping around on him, too- a Minor problem thanks to Hernandez jumping on the first pitch after back-to-back walks (behavior I’m more used to from Braves hitters).

  63. @94 Amen. The Braves are going to need solid defense from here on out and having Bourn and Jason in the outfield is an incredible asset.

  64. The baseball gods don’t seem to like Mike Minor since they won’t allow any run support when he pitches.

  65. Getting a bit tired of the announcers whining about the Rockies’ starters not being able to ever pad their W-L total due to their pitching rotation setup.

  66. It has been an underratedly long time since we’ve had a no-hitter, especially considering the quality of pitcher we’ve had for a large portion of the almost 20 years since we last had one.

  67. I swear, the absolute second I got into my car and turned on the radio, Minor lost the no hitter.

  68. I think we are at the point where our pitchers have to throw shutouts to win…and even then the win isn’t a given.

  69. 127- Oddly, my own analysis and ratiocination led me to the considered and audited opinion that the Braves offense blows.

  70. Minor’s first 15 starts:
    85.2 IP / 38 BB / 72 K / 18 HR / 6.20 ERA / 1.48 WHIP / 5 starts with more than 1 HR allowed
    Minor’s last 11 starts (including tonight):
    69.2 IP / 13 BB / 52 K / 7 HR / 2.60 ERA / 0.92 WHIP / 0 starts with more than 1 HR allowed

    8 of those recent 11 starts have come at home, w/ the three road parks being philly, miami, and san fran; three of those multi-homer games early on were coors, g.a.b.p., and fenway. completely unnecessary to add, but dude’s been killing it for a solid two months now.

  71. I have just received word that my analysis of the Braves offense has been accepted for publication by Harvard University, and will be included in the 375th issue of their annual publication — the oldest university periodical in the United States — The Harvard Journal of Suck.

  72. No, that’s evidence that Fredi has functioning neurons. Now if Kimbrel doesn’t hold the lead, that will be powerful negative reinforcement. So we should thank Kimbrel for keeping Fredi’s IQ from giving back those hard-earned points.

  73. Grst, I can only agree. Especially with a runner at third. It’s not like he looked like he had a chance at the first 2 fastballs.

  74. That’s a pretty big win, given that we haven’t actually scored a run in terms of earning it since Monday. We’ll take as many free wins as we can get, thank you. If LA could lose tonight, that would be really huge.

  75. Constanza’s know-how-to-win-ability was enough to offset Minor’s lack of same. Uggla and McCann picked up right where they had left off.

  76. Can’t help but laugh about the sub-heading on the mlb site.

    “Mike Minor threw six no-hit innings before allowing a single, and because of his stinginess, the one unearned run the Braves scored was more than enough.”

    How is one unearned run more than enough? Could we have scored any less and still won?

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