Braves 4, Marlins 3 (Woo Hoo!) (recapped by Ububba)

Chop-tober, anyone?

OK, I’m too happy to be snarky about a marketing campaign. Yup, the 2012 Atlanta Braves are returning to the post-season.

The Braves managed to shed those 2011 Blues with a thrilling, come-from-behind, walk-off victory—4-3 over that dysfunctional squad from South Florida, the Miami Marlins. The Wild-Card-clincher came courtesy of Freddie Freeman, whose GIDP ended last year’s painful collapse. Sweetly appropriate.

This time, the ending couldn’t have been more different. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th, Chipper Jones doubled & took third on a Mike Dunn wild pitch—then Freddie cranked one over the centerfield fence. Pop, pop, pop went the champagne corks and a big, frothy Braves celebration began.

Where we stand: Unless the Washington Nationals decide to hand over the division title— Braves are 4 GB with 8 games to go—it looks like the next really meaningful game will be at The Ted on Oct. 5.

How’d it happen? Coming into the Game #154, the Braves’ post-season magic number stood at one, Chipper Jones was set to begin his last regular-season homestand and The Amazing Medlen was taking the mound with a chance to tie a really weird, but no less amazing record of having his team win 22 consecutive times he’s started a game.

Oddly, the Marlins secondbaseman Donovan Solano—he of the .355 slugging percentage—had other ideas, nearly ruining the party with his first two Major-League homers. In the 2nd inning, he crunched Medlen’s belt-high 2-seamer into the left-field stands to give the Fish a 1-0 lead. In the 7th, he jumped all over a heater right down Peachtree, lofting a 2-run shot to right-center, making it 3-2 Miami.

For the most part, the game was an engaging clash of pitching styles. Apart from the two apparent mistakes to Solano, Medlen was his usual efficient, strike-throwing machine (7 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 8 K, 0 BB in 92 pitches). Nathan Eovaldi—a hulking flamethrower who reminds me of Scott Erickson—was made to work a little harder (6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 8 K, 2 BB in 102 pitches), but he scored similar results. If this guy has it figured out, watch out… nah, he’ll probably be on the Red Sox before you know it.

Anyway, before the 9th-inning fireworks, Braves opportunities were few. The Braves tied things 1-1 with a modest rally in B2, Chipper enjoyed a standing ovation, then walked. Freeman blooped a single and Uggla guided one just past Jose Reyes’ dive, scoring Mr. Jones.

In the bottom of the 3rd with 2 outs, Prado wacked at a shoulder-high heater like Buford Pusser taking on a Dixie Mobster with his 2-by-4. The result: An oppo triple and his 90th hit of the season with 2 strikes. Alas, Heyward K’d on a similar pitch to end the minor threat.

But in the 6th, Big Jason golfed a triple off the left-center-field wall. Chipper dutifully flew out to medium right, easily scoring Heyward—2-1 Bravos with Med Dog on the mound.

After Solano’s short-lived heroics, EOF & The Kraken did their collective thing—2 IP, 0 runs— giving the Braves a legit chance to rally in the 9th. They did, and now they’re set for October, hopefully for a long stay.

BTW, it should be noted that Fredi managed this game like he really wanted to clinch tonight. In the 7th, he pinch-ran Constanza for McCann, who was on 1st base with 2 outs and he brought in EOF & Kimbrel while behind. Worked out.

So cheers, Braves fans! As the late Skip Caray liked to say, “It’s cocktail hour!”

145 thoughts on “Braves 4, Marlins 3 (Woo Hoo!) (recapped by Ububba)”

  1. Well that’s over with – I still doubt there is any hope of the division, but making the Nationals work for the last week has value.

  2. It’s really strange looking forward to a win-or-go-home contest that’s going to take place in 10 days. It almost feels like a bowl game.

  3. So, about that homer by Freddie:

    Freeman is the seventh player in major-league history to hit a walk-off home run to clinch a team’s postseason berth.

    He is just the second, however, to hit the game-winning homer with his team trailing in the game. The other was Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” for the 1951 New York Giants.

  4. Does anyone have the slightest idea what time the play-in game is? I kind of get why MLB scheduled both of them for the same day, but it’s pretty annoying all the same.

  5. Huge homerun for a lot of reasons…

    Anyone else wondering why Ross didn’t bat in the bottom of the 7th down 3-2??
    McCann had been pinch run for at first with two outs. Overbay bats for Medlen, then Baker replaces him when Marlins bring in LH Jennings. Ross is already going into game to catch, yet Fredi bats Baker instead, burning another bench player in a spot where you want a power hitter?

    Only reason I can think of is that they wanted Ross in McCann’s 7-spot in the lineup instead of in the 9-hole in case the lineup turned over in the 9th?

  6. #8
    Well, historically speaking, Baker has hit lefties (295/344/499) better than Ross (246/327/441) in a similar same amount of PAs. I just figured Fredi wanted to give Baker a chance in a big spot vs. a LHP–that’s why we got him.

    I think there’s a very good chance we’d get a prime-time slot for East Coast viewing, say, 7 or 8 pm.

    I think it may depend on whether or not Oakland is hosting the AL WC game. If so, MLB could have us play in the late afternoon, say, 4 pm., with Bal @ Oak getting the prime-time slot. Or they could give us the prime-time with Oakland playing 10 pm Eastern time.

    (I could be wrong, but I don’t think MLB would have a 10 pm Eastern start for a WC game in Oakland. Of course, more national viewers would see WC games that started at, say, 7 pm and 10 pm, but the travel implications could be really nuts for winner’s next-round opponent, which won’t know its division-series destination until a WC winner is determined. In fact, even if the O’s won at Oakland, they’d have to turn around & fly back to Baltimore to host the #1 seed.)

    If it’s Oakland at Baltimore, however, I’d guess that would be afternoon & we’d get the prime-time game, especially if we play St. Louis or LA. TV prefers either of those matchups.

    If, somehow, the Yanks end up hosting the WC game, we’d be relegated to the afternoon.

  7. what a game what a night if there are any braves fans in las vegas im looking to schedule a viewing party for g163 what would be a good place to put it out there to #bravesnation

  8. Went to bed early last night. D’oh!

    So if I read the stat correctly, with his next two-strike hit Martin Prado will have more such hits in a single season than anyone in the NL since 1988, passing Brett Butler in 1991. I will now track fervently his progress in chasing this milestone that nobody was aware of until yesterday.

  9. @10 When Baltimore wins the East, NY will get prime time game. Bobby Thompson, Whitey Ford and Carl Hubbell, what is next?

  10. This has been a great year for the Braves, and I am sure Mac still is watching. Hope this season will only get better!!!

  11. The Braves are trailing the Nats by 4 games. If we had started the season with Simmons instead of Pastornicky would we be leading the division? Since P-Nicky has a negative WAR and Simmons is positive (I’m not 100% sure of either of those but I think that is correct), would the collective difference between the two have equaled at least 4 more wins at this point in the season?

  12. Four back with eight to play isn’t really even close. If the Nationals go .500 the rest of the way, the Braves would have to go 8-0 just to tie.

  13. Hell, if we had started the season with Janish…

    The Naspos Expats are a good team this year. One player wouldn’t have made a difference.

  14. Great recap! Always heard the UGA Journalism School was top notch.

    Watched the entire celebration. Sure looked like they were exultant. Sure looked like it mattered to them as much or more than it mattered to us.

    Just. So. Sweet.

  15. The Nationals have played 147 strings of eight games this year. They have never had a string worse than 3-5, which they’ve done 21 times. They’ve gone 4-4 44 times. This ignores, of course, who they’re playing, who their personnel is, how they’re playing at this time of year, Strasburg, etc. etc. It’s uphill (as everyone knows) but far from impossible.

  16. 19—Well…One player absolutely could make a difference. A five-win player, for example. But the difference between Simmons and Pastornicky isn’t five wins. If we end up losing the division by a couple of games, though, it’s fair to wonder whether starting the season with Simmons would’ve changed things.

    Won’t matter if the Braves take care of business in the play-in game, though.

    23—It was after three straight curves. Don’t see how you could have a problem with the pitch selection; Medlen just caught too much of the plate with it.

  17. The Nats are a good team but their weaknesses are on full display down the stretch. One player absolutely could have made the difference–that is the point of calculating WAR, is it not?

  18. They have never had a string worse than 3-5

    That is impressive.

    would the collective difference between the two have equaled at least 4 more wins at this point in the season?

    Funny you should ask. Conveniently, each has had 41 starts this season. Pastor checked in with a -1.6 WAR, and Simmons has a 2.5 WAR, a difference of 4.1 wins. However, Andrelton failed to vault Pastornicky in the organizational depth chart in spring training (he hit .186), and it could be argued that a good portion of his current value derives from his development as a hitter in a less pressurized environment.

  19. Just to finish up this “nickel analysis,” the Braves have had 14 7-1 sequences and no eight game winning streaks. So the pseudoprobability of catching the Nats is 21/147 x 14/147, or about 1.4 percent. This probably slightly understates the true probability, since it treats the probability of 2-8 or worse for the Nats and 8-0 for the Braves at 0, which they aren’t. Using much fancier methods than this, Baseball Prospectus puts it at 2.4%. That’s probably about right.

  20. The most important thing in this calculation of div. winning chances – WE’RE IN BABY!

    Anything else on top of that is gravy. And, I was gladdened to see Fredi saying he was so glad he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or both. He takes a lot of crap, but today, I’m happy for him.

  21. @28

    Sure, but in our case, I don’t think T-Pas over Simmons is the reason we don’t win the division.

    Uggla and McCann’s struggles played a part. We had a few weeks where our starting pitching just sucked. Venters was lit up early.

    Laying it on one player just seems a bit much. This team could win 94-96 games. At the start of the season, everyone on this board would have taken that and would have though that wins the division.

    Washington has just played better.

  22. Just want to clarify, I was not trying to lay the situation on one player, I was just thinking this morning “I wonder how we could have won four more games during the season”. Uggla and McCann not struggling or Venters not getting lit up or Jurrjens not falling apart each might have gotten us four more wins. The only reason I asked about Simmons v P-Nicky is because a. it was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about finding four games somewhere b. I seem to recall the race for SS in Spring Training was a close thing and c. unlike the other things mentioned, choosing Simmons over P-Nicky was something that could be controlled. The team couldn’t just make the other problems go away.

  23. 30, 31- 5.9% as of this morning, according to BP. Remember, the Natspos have a tough schedule left (2 at Phillies, 3 at Cards, 3 vs. Phillies) while we get the Fish, LolMets, and Pirates.

  24. Postseason clinching threads rule, and ububba rocks. Thanks for the great recap, ububba. Let’s play them ONE GAME AT A TIME.

  25. One game at a time? Coop: I’ve already played out the next 12 seasons…but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

  26. Ububba, Stu, Alex, Smitty and all y’all that have recapped, great job and thanks. I can’t think of a better compliment than to say its all been to Braves Journal standards.

    We are in the playoffs now and have key players rested and ready to go. Well done Fredi and well done Frank Wren. I’m not sure how many teams could survive their ace going down, a move to a double A short stop, your right handed slugger deciding its better to walk and strike out, your star catcher wearing down, your number 3 pitcher sucking his way to Gwinnette, your number 5 sucking his way to Gwinnette and the high wire Tommy Hanson act. What a team. What luck. Again Wren gets lucky for the deal that didn’t get done becuase I’d rather try to develop Delgado than rent Dempster. And we got into the playoffs without him. I like our chances this year even with the play in game.

  27. #22
    Thanks, I’ll be sure to pass those sentiments onto Dr. English.

    Gonna miss you by one day. I’ll be out there Oct. 6, an off-day for the Braves (but not the Dawgs).

  28. Four back with eight to play isn’t really even close. If the Nationals go .500 the rest of the way, the Braves would have to go 8-0 just to tie.

    Then go 8-0. Play through the whistle.

    The Nats have 5 left against Philly and 3 against STL. Philly plays them well. STL is playing for the last playoff slot.

    The Braves have 2 against FLA, 3 against the Mets, and 3 against PIT.

    Go hard until it’s not a possibility any longer.

  29. It’s not a realistic possibility right now.

    I’d rather rest starters if it gets to five back with six to play. Unless the Cardinals are threatening to take home field advantage away in that wild card game.

  30. @46

    Why wouldn’t you wait until it’s a mathematical impossibility? Either we’ll have a chance to win the division or there’ll be at least a couple of games where we can rest people. We’ll probably have a much better idea of where we stand going into the Pittsburgh series than we do now, anyway.

  31. Then go 8-0.

    Right, because teams can easily produce 11-game win streaks whenever they feel like it. Darn, why didn’t the Braves simply think of it sooner and do that? They might already be ahead.

  32. 5-3 and 2-6 doesn’t seem that crazy. Not likely, but we were on the wrong side of a much more unlikely collapse last year so I’m definitely on board with playing our best guys until we’re officially eliminated.

    So if we did tie the Nats would there be a one-game playoff to decide who goes to the other one-game playoff?

  33. Players can rest when the season is over. I dont like resting the everyday players a lot right now. Bobby tried that formula and it never seemed to work all that well. Nats very easily could go 3-5 to finish this up. Win the last 8 and see what happens.

  34. So if we did tie the Nats would there be a one-game playoff to decide who goes to the other one-game playoff?

    Yes, at their place. They have the season series 10-8 in their favor.

  35. If we palyed a play in game here is what we should do:

    Get Sheets ready, because he is our starter. You follow him up with Tehran and Delgatto.

  36. It’s not a realistic possibility right now.

    You don’t compete, especially not at the level of Major League Baseball, by checking the spreadsheets for what is or is not a realistic possibility. You compete until it’s over and let the internets take worry about probability charts.

    Right, because teams can easily produce 11-game win streaks whenever they feel like it.

    Nobody said a word about “easy.” And you don’t play for an 8- or 11-game win streak. You play to win tonight’s game. Then tomorrow, you play to win tomorrow night’s game. And you play to win until you have nothing else to win.

    Players can rest when the season is over.

    Exactly. Who the hell needs rest in September and October? It’s not like the distinction between division and WC is meaningless any more. (We had that conversation yesterday, right?) If the only thing at stake was who hosted Game 5 of the LDS sure, you set your rotation and give Chipper a day off maybe. But we’re talking about the difference between a coin flip play-in game and the actual LDS. You play until the division is no longer available.

  37. I think of it this way — four games out with eight to play is a lot. But if it were two games out with six to play, you’d be going all out, no question about it. And what does that require? Just two ATL wins and two Nationals losses. If something that happens all the time (making up two games in two days) puts us square in the middle of the race, then you have to act like you’re square in the middle of the race.

    Now, if the Nats win their next two and we lose our next two, then it’s six out with six to play and you can look at getting some players some extra rest. But it’s too soon to think about that. I don’t like those percentage calculators — because the percentage changes every day, yet people make judgments on the one day they remember when something was 98% and didn’t end up happening.

  38. Chipper has 8 regular season games left in his career. I think he’ll be up for playing in each and every one of them. it would be pretty cool for him to end up with 2500 games and 9000 AB’s in his final regular season game at home. He’s 8 games and 25AB’s away.

  39. @60 Playboy just named my college #1 party school. UT is trying to compete. Newsweek had a list of top drinking schools in 1960s. UVA was excluded so as not to endanger amateur status of the other colleges.

  40. 63 – ha. I’ve run the gamut from #1 stone cold sober to #1 party school in my undergrad to grad career.

  41. #63
    I had heard that same story but it was in reference to Sewanee, not UVA. Decided to look it up on Snopes and it turns out it’s an urban legend based on a blurb after one of their lists that said “If your school isn’t listed, it’s because we don’t rank professionals.”

  42. Interesting thought. Would you rather:

    1) Come in 2nd in the division and do a 1 game wildcard playoff? OR

    2) Tie for the division, do a 1 game playoff, and then do another one game playoff if you lose?

    My vote reluctantly goes for #1. If somehow, someway, the Braves catch the Nats, let’s hope they win the division outright

  43. Heard about the UT beer incident on the radio. Apparently alcohol absorption is the same but you can put larger quantities up there?

  44. Ya know, if we happen to win tonight and the Nationals happen to lose …

    It’s on!

    Three games back tightens the sphincter of any player (as long as said player didn’t matriculate at UT).

  45. Prayers and well wishes to someone who came up and had some good seasons for the Braves–Dusty Baker.

  46. @76: Absolutely. One of the worst Braves trades ever. And I don’t like the Reds at all. But as we know in this space better than others, health comes before games.

  47. I hope the Nats go either on a tear or give the division away to us. The scenario I’d least like to see is facing the Reds in the Division Series. I don’t think the Braves match up well at all against the Reds.

  48. #57
    Do you guys think if the two wild card games are in the eastern time zone (say Atlanta and Baltimore) they’ll still schedule them at 6:00 and 9:30? I would really hope not, especially since I’m planning on taking my 5 and 8 year olds to the game.

  49. We did lose five of six to the Reds this season, but we only allowed 21 runs (despite four of the six games being in their bandbox). Of course, we only scored 15 runs in those games.

    We can beat the Reds if the offense can avoid sucking as it did against them during the regular season.

  50. Of course my above concerns are assuming they can win the wild card game, but I have faith!

    Does winning the one-game wild card playoff count as winning a playoff series? Do you realize the Braves haven’t won a playoff series in a decade?

  51. 3:47 [Comment From Michael BournMichael Bourn: ]
    The contract I will get this off season will be for … ?

    3:47 Ben Nicholson-Smith: My guess: Carl Crawford money (seven years, $142MM).

    No chance.

  52. @70, option 2 all the way. You just have to go .500 over the two games.

    So we lose a Hudson start from round one if we get there. The key at this stage is to make sure you get there and worry about the rest later. It’s not as if Minor and Maholm are scrubs who can’t win games 1 and 2.

  53. @82 Holy wow, that’s like, All the Money and then All of it again.

    I don’t think anyone would give him that, specifically BECAUSE of Crawford and how terribly that’s gone.

  54. Yeah seriously, it’s option 2 without a doubt. Win either game and you’re in, win the first game and you get homefield advantage in at least one of the playoff rounds possibly the whole postseason if Cincy tanks down the stretch.

  55. Does winning the one-game wild card playoff count as winning a playoff series? Do you realize the Braves haven’t won a playoff series in a decade?

    MLB says it’s a playoff game, so they and the team will likely call it “winning a playoff series.” I find that to be absurd and consider it a play-in game to determine the final playoff participant.

  56. Dooley is a fellow Wahoo and had a good career there. He was not a big time recruit.
    @68 The nomination is the honor. I mentioned Time, not Playboy. Playmate of the Year met Tom McMillan at C’ville airport and he grew up next door to UVA Coach in Millersville, PA but he still did not come.

  57. If the Braves win in the play-in and lose in the next round, I won’t grouse — I’m not a Yankee fan. 2012 has been a good year in Atlanta. But I think that this team is good enough to keep playing. I don’t really care whether the “play-in” is a “playoff series.” All I care is that the Braves are playing past the 162nd game. And who the hell knows, if we catch a few breaks we just might make a run.

  58. You’d obviously take option 1 if you knew in advance you were going to lose the East play-in game, because then you screw up your rotation to no benefit. But without knowing the outcome, of course you go with option 2–that’s two chances to reach the NLDS.

  59. Your Playoff-Bound Atlanta Braves!

    Constanza cf
    Prado lf
    Heyward rf
    Chipper 3b
    Freeman 1b
    Uggla 2b
    McCann c
    Simmons ss
    Maholm p

  60. So, a commercial for Braves tickets for a one-game wild card. Guess the Braves aren’t really planning on winning the division.

  61. Jim Powell totally owned that moment. Said people ask why Fredi has Martin bunt with runners on second, said he does it on his own, said he wished he’d swing away instead (especially with his ability to go to right field), and then watched as he did exactly that.

  62. Do you think the Braves will pick up Mccann’s option next year?
    He has really struggled since August 2011. I belive it is for 13 million.

  63. I have no doubt the Braves pick it up. I seriously wonder if they offer him another contract after that. It’ll be very hard for them to pay him the market rate, but it would look bad for them not to make an offer, or if their offer were insultingly low.

  64. I think they’ll pick up the option, yes. They have holes in CF and LF already, and there won’t be great options at C. Plus McCann is a good bounceback candidate, as Heyward and Prado were this year.

  65. The Phillies are trying to sneak up on the Exionals. (“Natspos” needs a little variety.) It’s 5-2 in the 5th.

  66. Before this outing, Paul Maholm had a 4.07 ERA as a Brave (55 innings). I’m pretty surprised it’s that high, given how well he seems to have performed.

  67. @114

    I agree. He may not get back to who he was a few years ago, but I also expect a bounceback next year.

  68. @123 He was strong in August, but has had a couple bad outings in September, including giving up 7 runs in only 2 innings on the 2nd. Hopefully today’s performance will get him on the right path heading into the playoffs.

  69. He’s given up over half of those his runs in two starts (9/2 against Philly and 9/12 at Milwaukee). This is his 6th quality start out of 10, one other ended two outs early, and one more saw him give up 4 runs.

  70. 98- Here’s another marketing opportunity for the Braves- buy a chance to be one of seven lucky ticketholders who can get the best seats in the house standing behind Kimbrel if the Braves bring him in for the 9th. Not like they’ll need to do anything.

    Honestly, McCann. Two batters reaching on strike three tonight? Snap out of it!

  71. Phillies cut it to one. First and third with two out. Nats announcers are trying to hold it together but there are definite hints of panic. Couldn’t happen to two bigger clowns.

  72. Unfortunately, that slacker threw a ball to that second guy, or he’d have a shot at a 12-pitch 4-strikeout inning.

  73. Tyler Clippard–the Nats setup man but a guy who would only be the 4th or 5th best pitcher in our pen–, somehow got out of it. That was not worth missing a 4K Kimbrel save, but if the Phillies had gotten one more hit it would have been.

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